Hornets fall to Celtics in OT for 1st loss of the season

Boston ended overtime with 14 unanswered points to top Charlotte

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, left, and Charlotte Hornets forward Gordon Hayward, right, fight for the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

CHARLOTTE — Four quarters of Monday night action at the Spectrum Center weren’t enough to decide the winner of a battle between the Charlotte Hornets and Boston Celtics.

Finishing out the game on a 14-0 run, Jayson Tatum and Celtics (2-2) closed out the overtime thriller with a 140-129 win as they handed the Hornets (3-1) their first loss of the young season. 


Tatum — an All-ACC performer at Duke during his one collegiate season in 2016-17 — had a game-high 41 points, seven rebounds and eight assists for his best performance yet of his fifth NBA season. 

Reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week winner Miles Bridges led Charlotte with 25 points and 10 rebounds, while LaMelo Ball added 25 points and nine assists. 

“That’s a hell of a roster, and we were going toe to toe with them,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “We gave ourselves a great opportunity to win this game but fell a little short. We’ll learn from it and we’ll grow from it, but I love the spirit and the effort right now.”

With four minutes to play in the fourth quarter, Charlotte held a nine-point lead over Boston and was eyeing a franchise-record 4-0 start to the year — the Hornets had erased a halftime deficit for the fourth time in four games with a strong third-quarter effort. 

The Celtics then used a 14-5 run to climb back into the game where the score sat at a 122 tie for the final 1:11 of regulation; neither team was able to convert on a potential game-winning possession.

“I think we hit a point in the fourth quarter where we were just gassed out. We had to get in the half court against them and they’re tough and physical,” Borrego said. “This is another process in learning against this type of defense. It will only make us better down the road.”

In overtime, both teams traded baskets before Boston’s Dennis Schroder and Jaylen Brown each made a 3-pointer in a 34-second span, swinging the momentum heavily toward the Celtics for the closing two minutes of the game. Schroder finished with 23 points and eight assists, while Brown recorded 30 points and nine rebounds. 

Both teams converted 19 3-pointers during the game, although Charlotte was successful on only one of its six long-range attempts in overtime. 

The Hornets were playing without starting shooting guard Terry Rozier (ankle) and power forward P.J. Washington (knee) — both players are currently day-to-day with their respective injuries.

Jalen McDaniels scored 13 points off the bench in a role usually held by Washington, and Kelly Oubre Jr. stepped in again for Rozier, scoring 19 points with nine rebounds.

Oubre said the loss to Boston can be a wake-up call for Charlotte to improve despite a favorable start to the season. 

“For us, we needed that in a sense, to pretty much humble ourselves and continue to get back on the right track,” the shooting guard said. 

Next up, Charlotte will travel to Orlando on Wednesday to challenge the Magic (1-3) in a 7 p.m. matchup.