Monday, March 30, 2015

Celtics 116 - Hornets 104: Boston Survives, Bradley Dominates

Avery Bradley exploded tonight for 30 points as the Boston Celtics got a huge win against the Charlotte Hornets, 116-104. In a game that was vital in positioning for one of the final spots in the playoffs, the Celtics were launched back into the 8th seed in the East after a great performance all around.

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Boston was up by as many as 22 in the 3rd quarter, but held off a surging Hornets team that fought valiantly to make it a game in the fourth. A big reason for that was the Celtics went 10-10 from the free throw line to close out the game and seal the deal.

The guard play tonight for the Celtics was vital to the teams performance. Bradley had easily his biggest offensive output of the year scoring 17 of his 30 points in the 3rd quarter. He was money shooting the basketball and shot an eye popping 12-23 fg on the night. Along with Bradley, Evan Turner had a super efficient game putting up 15/6/5 on 7-11 shooting from the field. And not to be out done Marcus Smart's 14/6/4 line was huge for the Celtics as well.

The surprise performance of the night was that of Gerald Wallace. He was called upon to provide a spark of the bench in the first half and responded with a couple big hustle plays.  In returning to Charlotte, Wallace showed flashes of the player he used to be in the city where he had probably his best years in the NBA. He ended up with 4 points 5 rebounds and two steals, and a big time alley-oop slam that came out of no where.

Kemba Walker and Mo Williams scored 28 and 19 points respectively and brought the Hornets to within six points in the fourth quarter, but that just wasn't enough.

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This was obviously a must needed win for the Celtics, who really have one of the most important weeks of the season going up against three teams they are fighting for playoff spots with.  Tonight, they were able to knock off Charlotte to create a little separation, but also have to worry about Indiana on Wednesday night and then Milwaukee on Friday night.  The Celtics cannot afford any let down this week as every game means so much.

It was awesome to see the Celtics starters respond after a brutal showing yesterday against the Los Angeles Clippers where they were just totally out classed from start to finish. They were strong from the get go tonight and never fell behind after bringing an eight point lead into halftime.

The trend of letting the opposition back into games continued though, which is very concerning for a team that has playoff aspirations. Up by 19 in the 4th, they did their typical Celtics routine of letting their foot off the gas and let the Hornets make a run. We've seen that too many times this year, and it's something that absolutely has to stop if they want to make any noise in the final stretch.

Next Up: Indiana Pacers @ TD Garden, Wednesday 7pm

Sean Dutra
@seandutra on Twitter

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