A pair of rocky starts to both halves derailed the Charlotte Hornets’ efforts to spoil Kemba Walker’s homecoming on the court, ultimately resulting in a 108-87 road win for the Boston Celtics on Thursday, Nov. 9 at Spectrum Center.
Miles Bridges led the hosts with a team-high 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting and a game-high-tying 10 rebounds. This is the second career double-double for Bridges, the first coming on March 21, 2019 against Minnesota.
Charlotte trailed by 13 in the first and then nine at the break, but an 11-3 Boston run out of halftime put the purple and teal down by 17 early on in the third. Boston ended the frame with an 85-67 advantage and never looked back, cruising to a sixth consecutive victory.
“We couldn’t make shots tonight, unfortunately,” Hornets Head Coach James Borrego said after the game. “I thought, especially in the first half, we generated some good looks, but they just didn’t go down. [Boston’s] a very good defensive team. We didn’t make shots, so you have to give them credit. The shots that we did have, we didn’t knock down.”
Devonte’ Graham racked up 15 points and a game-high nine assists, narrowly missing out on his second career double-double, as well. PJ Washington chipped in four points, eight rebounds, two assists and five blocks, becoming the fifth different Hornets rookie (Mourning, Magloire, Okafor and Biyombo) and first since 2012 to record at least five blocks in a single game.
Jayson Tatum (23) and Gordon Hayward (20) each posted 20-point games for Boston. Walker added 14 points (11 in the third) and six assists, while Jaylen Brown and Javonte Green each had 12-point outings. Hayward also grabbed a game-high-tying 10 rebounds for his third double-double performance of the campaign.
Charlotte committed 21 turnovers leading to 17 Boston points and shot just 6-of-31 from three-point range (19.4%). Overall, the Hornets shot just 38.4% from the field (33-of-86), their lowest such percentage in any game so far this season.
Prior to tipoff, Walker was honored with a tear-inducing tribute video on the Spectrum Center scoreboard and a standing ovation. Walker spent a total of eight seasons with the organization, racking up three All-Star appearances and finishing his tenure as the franchise’s all-time leader in points (12,009), three-point field goals (1,283) and games started (560).
“It was special just to be back here and the amount of love that I’ve been getting throughout this day and leading up to this day, it’s just been a lot of love,” said Walker. “The video just topped it off. It was so special and it definitely made me really emotional. I was trying to hold it in, but I couldn’t. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to.”
The Hornets will now look to close out their homestand on a winning note when they welcome the New Orleans Pelicans to town on Saturday, Nov. 11 for a 7 PM EST tipoff. Catch the game on Fox Sports Southeast or listen on WFNZ 610 or the Hornets App.