By Sam Perley, hornets.com
The Charlotte Hornets took the court for the first time in nearly six months as they opened their 2017-18 campaign with a 94-82 preseason loss to the hometown Celtics on Monday night in Boston. Despite an impressive, game-high 17-point performance from Jeremy Lamb, the Hornets couldn’t overcome some sloppy second-half play at TD Garden.
Things were fairly even between the two sides until late in the third quarter when the Celtics began a 20-6 run to open up a game-high 15-point advantage with 7:48 remaining in the game. Charlotte managed to cut the deficit down to as little as seven points, but failed to ever get back out in front.
In addition to his 17 points, Lamb also finished with eight rebounds and three assists. The sixth-year veteran from UConn scored 17-or-more points in seven games all of last season for the Hornets.
Dwight Howard added seven points and game-high marks in both rebounding (10) and blocks (3) in his Hornets debut. Howard ranked sixth in the NBA last season with 59 double-digit rebounding games.
Kemba Walker (12 points) and Nicolas Batum (10 points) both scored in double figures for Charlotte. Rookie Malik Monk chipped in five points on 2-of-8 shooting after sitting out all of Summer League with an ankle injury.
Turnovers plagued the Hornets throughout the night as they finished with 19 giveaways compared to just 12 by Boston. Charlotte also shot 37.5 percent from the field (30-of-80) and was outrebounded by the Celtics, 52-45.
Daniel Theis led the Celtics in both scoring (12 points) and rebounding (7) to go along with three assists. The 25-year-old rookie from Salzgitter, Germany spent the last three seasons playing for Brose Bamberg in the German Basketball Bundesliga.
Aron Baynes and Abdel Nader each finished with 10 points for Boston. Notable offseason additions Kyrie Irving (nine points) and Gordon Hayward (five points) both made their Celtic debuts as well.
The Hornets return to action at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night with another preseason road matchup against the Detroit Pistons.