The Boston Celtics couldn’t find a way to slow down Kemba Walker, as the guard led the way with 43 points in a 117-112 victory for the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night at Spectrum Center.
Head coach Brad Stevens shuffled around his roster ahead of the game, starting Aron Baynes next to Al Horford in the frontcourt and moving Gordon Hayward to the bench. The experiment didn’t work so well for Hayward, who ended up scoring just four points on 1-for-6 shooting. Baynes, meanwhile, ended up playing just seven total minutes in the game despite getting the starting nod.
The C’s struggled again from three-point range, shooting 9-for-32 (28.1 percent) as a team. Four of those made shots from downtown came from Marcus Smart, who scored 14 points in 26 minutes off the bench. Kyrie Irving particularly faltered from beyond the arc, going 1-for-8.
Irving still ended up with 27 points on 12-for-25 shooting, but was no match for what Walker pulled off.
Boston led by as much as seven points in the third quarter and held an 87-84 lead heading into the fourth. But Walker took over from there, scoring 21 of his 43 points in the fourth quarter and finishing with seven three-pointers, four rebounds, and five assists on the night.
Three-point shooting ultimately made the difference for the Hornets, who finished 15-for-41 (36.6 percent) from that range. Both teams finished with virtually identical team free-throw percentages (72.7-72.2 Charlotte) and nearly the same field goal percentages (50.6-48.3 Boston).
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