Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Jayson Tatum ties career-high in first half points, but Celtics fall to Hornets 121-118 [OT]

The Celtics fell to the Charlotte Hornets 121-118 in overtime Monday at the Spectrum Center.

Playing on the second night of a back-to-back and fifth matchup in eight days, Boston couldn't hold on, as they got their six-game win streak snapped.

Jayson Tatum, tied a career-high in first-half points at 31 to finish with 45 points (15-of-28 and 7-of-15 from 3), 13 rebounds and six assists to lead the C's, but it wasn't enough as they drop to 11-3 on the season. 

Payton Pritchard added 21 points, six rebounds off the bench, while Kristaps Porzingis had 17 points and eight rebounds. Jaylen Brown struggled on 5-of-17 from the field and missed all five of his attempts from 3-point territory to notch 13 points.

LaMelo Ball led the Hornets, who improved to 4-9, with 36 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Former Celtic Gordon Hayward netted 20 points, Mark Williams recorded a double-double of 18 points, 16 rebounds and Miles Bridges chipped in 14 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer with 6.1 seconds left in OT.

Boston led by 18 (the largest margin) midway through the second quarter, before taking a 65-54 advantage into the break.

The Hornets used a 17-8 spurt to get within two (73-71) to start the third, but that would be the closest they'd get the rest of the period, as they trailed 87-81 heading into the fourth.

The Celtics once again pushed the deficit to double-digits with six minutes left to play in regulation. Ball's driving layup to knot it up with 7.0 seconds on the game clock capped a 19-8 run for Charlotte and Hauser missed the potential game-winning 26-footer as time expired to force overtime.

Following Bridges' only second made 3-pointer in seven tries on the night to put the Hornets up 119-116, Tatum got fouled on the ensuing possession shooting a 3 from the top of the key with 5.2 seconds left in the extra session. He hit the first two free throws but missed the third crucial one, and Hayward was fouled on the rebound -- as he drained a pair from the charity stripe to put Boston away.

While Tatum said he was "surprised" that he missed the game-tying free throw, he was more concerned about the C's blowing an 11-point lead down the stretch in the fourth quarter.
"We have to regroup," Tatum said in his postgame comments. "We had six wins in a row and it's easy to get complacent and we paid for it tonight."
The Celtics will look to bounce back when they host the Milwaukee Bucks (10-4) in a Thanksgiving Eve showdown. ESPN has the tip-off from TD Garden at 7:30 pm ET.

Game Notes:

Boston was 43.3% from the field, including 16-of-50 from beyond the arc, while the Hornets were 44.2% from the floor and 13-of-39 from 3. Boston was out-rebounded 57-48 and outscored in the paint 60-46. The C's dished out 19 assists on 42 baskets, while Charlotte had 29 assists on 46 made shots.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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