From the NBA Newswire at 985TheSportsHub.com
Kemba Walker dominated the fourth quarter as he led the Hornets on a 30-5 run to close out the game, topping the Celtics 124-117 on Saturday in Charlotte. Walker finished with 36 points to Irving's 31, outscoring him 18-2 in the final frame. The Hornets came back from a 112-94 deficit with 8:21 left.
Irving got off to a scorching start with 16 points on 7-for-9 shooting in the first quarter alone. That along with 10 points from Jaylen Brown were enough to propel the Celtics to a 35-29 lead after one. Charlotte battled back to briefly take a one-point lead in the second after ripping off a 14-3 run. But the Celtics weathered the storm and held a 64-63 lead at halftime thanks to a late three by Marcus Smart and run-and-dunk by Brown.
After the Hornets' Devonte' Graham hit a free throw to make it 90-89 Celtics in the third, Boston pulled away again after a back-and-forth quarter with an 8-0 run to take a 98-89 lead into the fourth. Charlotte went 0-for-4 from the field as a team during the late run. But the Hornets again closed the gap in the fourth with a 14-0 run before Walker simply took over.
Irving scored over 30 points for the fifth straight game and sixth in his last seven. Brown (29 points) posted his highest scoring output of the season so far. The Celtics squandered the highest combined point total (60) of the season for Irving and Brown.
Up Next: The Celtics will try to rebound from the disappointing defeat on Sunday when they return to TD Garden to take on the San Antonio Spurs.
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