Rapid Reaction: Hornets 90, Celtics 78
THE NITTY GRITTY
Al-Farouq Aminu scored a team-high 18 points (making 12-of-13 attempts at the charity stripe), while Anthony Davis (10 points, 10 rebounds) and Greivis Vasquez (15 points, 11 rebounds) posted double-doubles for New Orleans. The Hornets did most of their damage inside (winning the points-in-the-paint battle, 48-32). Paul Pierce really struggled from the floor, connecting on just 5-of-16 shots (1-of-7 beyond the 3-point arc) and finished with 12 points over 33 minutes before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. Kevin Garnett was a team-worst minus-21 despite chipping in a team-high 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting, but had only four rebounds and turned the ball over three times. Jason Terry chipped in 12 points off the bench for Boston.
ROUND 1 TO AUSTIN
With Eric Gordon out on the second night of a back-to-back, Austin Rivers got a friendly bump in playing time against his dad's team and responded by registering eight points on 3-of-6 shooting with an assist over 22:43. He wins the first head-to-head battle between father and son -- only the fourth time it's happened in NBA history.
The Celtics were up as much as 11 in the first quarter, but kicked it away with some sloppy and atrocious play in the middle quarters. The Hornets were up one at halftime before embarking on a 15-4 run to open the second half. A Robin Lopez layup after a Rondo turnover -- Boston's 12th of the night -- had the Hornets out front 59-47 with 6:34 to go in the frame. The Celtics made a couple charges in the fourth quarter, twice making it a one-possession game, but simply couldn't get over the hump (Courtney Lee missed a couple triples that could have tied it). The Hornets stretched their lead back to 11 with 3:37 to go and Boston simply couldn't string together consecutive buckets.
WHAT IT MEANS
Boston's season-high six-game winning streak is snapped by a Hornets squad that has now won six of their last seven. The Celtics started strong but couldn't generate consistent offense, which allowed the Hornets to get some points in transition (aided by 15 turnovers that led to 21 points for New Orleans). The Celtics didn't help their cause by missing 10 of 16 free throws. They'll kick themselves after the Hornets shot just 43.7 percent and missed 15 of 17 3-pointers they hoisted. The Celtics close out this five-game homestand by hosting the Chicago Bulls on Friday night before a brief two-game road trip to Detroit (Sunday) and Cleveland (Tuesday).
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