Bob DeChiara- USA Today Sports Images

Celtics Live Blog: Celtics vs.Hornets

The Celtics and the Hornets battle tonight in a huge Eastern Conference game that will go a long way towards deciding if the Celtics will be a four seed with home court or on the road as a fifth or sixth seed.

FIRST QUARTER

7:40- Here we go from Boston. Starting for the Celtics- Thomas, Bradley, Crowder, Johnson, and Sullinger; starting for the Hornets- Kemba Walker, Courtney Lee, Nic Batum, Marvin Williams, Al Jefferson

7:42- The Celtics control the tip and off we go. Cody Zeller out for the Hornets tonight, a quiet big loss for the Hornets.

7:45- The Hornets open the game 3-3 and jump out to a 6-4 lead. C's defense needs to tighten up. 

7:46- Al Jefferson may eat Jared Sullinger alive tonight. It's just not a good matchup. Hornets are on fire- 11-4 with 8:50 to go. 

7:48- Boston starts to make their move, scoring six straight and cutting the lead to 11-10. 

7:50: Sullinger with a nice play, tipping the ball to IT who took it to the hoop strong for two. Celtics take a 12-11 lead, timeout Charlotte.

* Amir Johnson has been so active the last three weeks, and if he plays like this throughout the playoffs, Boston will be a significantly tougher matchup than they were in 2014-15.

7:53- The Hornets move themselves and the ball very well, which really puts a lot of pressure on the Celtics defense. Boston is going small but this might not be the best night to feature that lineup. Avery Bradley with a big three to make the score Charlotte 18, Boston 15

7:55- Foolish pass by Bradley results in a turnover and then he picks up the personal foul in transition. Sometimes these young Celtics try to make passes that just aren't there. They need to be more patient. 

7:58- I may have spoken too soon regarding the small lineup. Kelly Olynyk replaced Amir Johnson and that made a big difference. Kelly is a guard in a center's body. 

8:00- Avery Bradley with a big three to put the C's on top, but the defense letdown and allowed Frank Kaminsky free for the dunk. Olynyk answered with his own, but Jeremy Lin did the same. Boston 25, Charlotte 24

8:03- Bradley ends the quarter with 11 points and leads Boston to a four point lead after one. With the way Charlotte started, Celtics fans might have been a bit worried, but Stevens and the Celtics adjusted and looked in control to end the quarter. Kelly Olynyk is becoming a major problem for defenders in the NBA. End of first quarter- Boston 28, Charlotte 24

SECOND QUARTER

8:06- Spencer Hawes is giving the C's issues off the bench, scoring five quick points and setting excellent screens. As he and Olynyk battle, it is clear that neither one of them really likes to play defense. Boston 35, Charlotte 31

8:12- Timeout on the floor and the Celtics hold a five point lead. Charlotte is a good team, flawed, but good. In a way they remind me of the Celtics. Both teams have good depth, which is a big part of their success. Boston 37, Charlotte 32

8:16- Frank Kaminsky is giving Boston problems tonight, as do most low-post players. The Celtics defensive rebounding is still extremely suspect. Boston 38, Charlotte 36

8:20- The Hornets are on a 12-0 run, and it's all coming from their bench, specifically Jeremy Lin, who has 13 points. Boston needs their bench to step up and play some defense because right now they look lost. Hornets 43, Celtics 38

8:24- This is ugly basketball being played by the Celtics, and it's in every part of the game. Can't score, haven't in five minutes, giving up offensive rebounds, making bad passes, and now Avery Bradley has picked up his third foul, which happened to be a clear path foul. With 4:18 to go in the second, the score is Charlotte 48, Boston 39. 

*Bradley just picked up his fourth. This isn't good. 

8:30- The Celtics are in the midst of their worst effort of the season, and they picked the worst time to do it, This is downright ugly; Boston simply can't score, and the Hornets are on a 22-1 run. With 3:03 to go, the score is 54-39, Charlotte. Jeremy Lin has 19 points. 19, that's not a typo. 

8:37- One of the worst halves of the season for Boston, giving up a 31-3 run and laying a huge egg that may end up being the catalyst for them dropping to sixth in the East. Awful defense, too many second chance baskets, and terrible shooting- all that contributed to Charlotte building a 22-point lead at the half. To think I thought Boston was in control after the first is simply amazing; they completely fell apart in that quarter.

HALFTIME- Charlotte 63, Boston 41 

THIRD QUARTER

8:57- Charlotte continues to work over the Celtics, and the refs aren't helping when they ignore Kemba Walker's blatant travel. If this game continues like this, this live blog may be calling it a night. Let's see if Boston can make a run. Charlotte leads, 75-48

9:02- Boston had cut the lead to 75-53 and were showing signs of life, but that quickly disappeared and the Hornets upped their lead to 27 again. The Celtics look completely out of sync and don't look like a team that can make a comeback. Hornets 80, Celtics 53

9:07- Jeremy Lin has torched the Celtics tonight for 25 points, and for some reason they just won't cover him. Boston needs Evan Turner to get it going because he is the key to their second unit. Isaiah Thomas got called for an offensive, and when he tossed the ball back to the ref they called a technical on him. This isn't the Celtics night, and if they don't cut this lead to 15 by the end of the third, there is a good chance Brad Stevens is going to give the end of the bench a heavy dose of fourth quarter minutes. Hornets 88, Celtics 62

9:15- The Celtics score five straight points to cut the lead to 21 with just under two minutes to go in the third. Again, the goal is to get this lead down to 15 by the end of the quarter, that way they have a real chance to make a comeback. Hornets 88, Celtics 67

9:21- Boston just can't overcome that season-worst second quarter and they still trail by 22 after three. They looked like they were going to make runs, but every time they get the lead to 22 or 21, Charlotte quickly pushes it back up to 27. If Jeremy Lin played the Celtics every night, he'd lead the league in scoring. Hornets 94, Celtics 72

FOURTH QUARTER

9:26- Considering the score, we are going to focus on other things. R.J. Hunter is in the game and just knocked down a three to fire up the home crowd, and then Boston got a stop and another quick basket out of Kelly Olynyk to cut the lead to 99-81. This all started with four straight Evan Turner points; once again he gets the offense going. Boston might be able to at least make this interesting if they can pick up a couple more stop-and-scores. Hornets 99, Celtics 81

9:32- The Celtics make a nice run and cut it to 15, but they allow the Hornets to hit a wide open three and then Turner misses a layup. Nothing is going right for the team in white tonight.

9:36- Boston makes another mini-run, cutting the lead back to 15, but Kelly Olynyk missed a wide open three that would have cut the lead down to 12. With just over five minutes to go, Boston needs a barrage of threes. Hornets 105, Celtics 88

9:40- Too many misses on easy shots tonight for the Celtics, especially Evan Turner. There is no question that the injury, and the goggles, are messing with his game. Charlotte 105, Boston 90

9:42- Well, with less than two minutes to go and the Hornets up 109-90, this game is over and the Celtics are now facing a must-win against the Heat Wednesday night in Boston. There isn't much more to say about this game other than Jeremy Lin destroyed the Celtics, and the worst quarter of the season put them in a hole that was impossible to climb out of.

The Celtics drop to 47-34, and the Hornets improve to 47-34 in the logjam known as the Eastern Conference. 

Thanks for joining us tonight and be sure to check us out again on Wednesday night as we provide live updates from the Celtics/Heat game. 

FINAL SCORE- CHARLOTTE HORNETS 114, BOSTON CELTICS 100

Follow me @chris_simoneau


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