BOSTON – It's a game played for four quarters, but only one (the second quarter) truly mattered in Boston's 114-100 loss to the Charlotte Hornets.
The Hornets (47-34) went on a blistering run in the second that set a potential blowout in motion before some meaningless late game baskets made the final score look a lot closer than the actual game that was played.
“We laid an eight-minute egg at the end of the second quarter,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
Boston had a 38-32 lead after Marcus Smart split a pair of free throws with 8:16 to play in the first half.
From there it was all Charlotte as they closed out the half with a blistering 31-3 run that proved to be too big a deficit for the Celtics (47-34) to overcome.
“Offense was bad, defense was bad, everything was poor,” Stevens said. “That’s what it boiled down to.”
That was indeed the case when you see that Boston either outscored or equaled the Hornets on the scoreboard in each of the other three quarters of play.
The way Evan Turner saw it, Charlotte was more than due for a stretch of strong play like what they had in the second quarter.
“If you go check out the stats in the last four games, they didn’t hit (expletive),” he said. “They were due to hit something. Sometimes life just balances itself out; those dudes are bound to hit they are NBA players, they played great and that’s it. Once you get an NBA team going they are tough to stop.”
The former star at Harvard University put on a show for his fans tonight, tallying a game-high 25 points which include a string of 11 straight points. He also had seven rebounds, five assists and five steals.
He has been Charlotte’s most consistent scorer this season, and didn’t disappoint tonight. He had 18 points to go with six assists and five rebounds.
Boston’s roster struggled in just about every way imaginable, although the play of Olynyk was indeed one of the few bright spots. He finished with his first double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The former Celtic was back in the Hornets starting lineup, doing what he has been able to do for years – get buckets. He tallied a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds on a bevy of low-post moves that the Celtics had no answer for how to effectively defend.
The foundation for what this team is about, has had its share of noticeable cracks lately. Charlotte was just the latest team to light up Boston’s defense as Jeremy Lin and company had little resistance getting to the rim for easy scores or taking lightly contested to wide open 3s.
He didn’t shoot the ball particularly bad from the field (6-for-13, 17 points), but he was never a significant factor. He’s used to driving to the basket and getting contact without always getting calls, but it clearly was a bigger issue than usual for him. It was a factor in him getting a technical foul and gave Celtics head coach Brad Stevens plenty of reason to keep him on the bench for most of the second half.