Hornets Eliminated from Playoff Contention with Loss to Celtics

By Matt Rochinski, hornets.com

Result

Nicolas Batum (31) and Kemba Walker (23) combined for 54 points on Swarm Appreciation Night in Charlotte but the Hornets were officially eliminated from 2017 playoff contention in front of a sold-out crowd with a 121-114 loss to the Boston Celtics. Charlotte finished with a 22-19 record at Spectrum Center in 2016-17.

Turning Point

Despite playing from behind most of the contest, the Hornets came alive in the fourth quarter, outscoring Boston 18-5 in the opening 5:23 of the final frame to turn a 92-86 deficit into a 104-97 lead. Charlotte was led by six points from Nic Batum and five more from Jeremy Lamb on the run, but the advantage would be short-lived as the Celtics responded with a 9-0 outburst of their own to take control of the contest and kept the Hornets at bay down the stretch.

Hornets Player of the Game

Nicolas Batum tied a season high with 31 points on 11-of-23 shooting from the field, including 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. With the four threes, Batum passed Jason Richardson with 273 all-time threes for 10th place in franchise history. He added eight rebounds and three assists in 41 minutes of play.

Celtics Player of the Game

Isaiah Thomas led six Celtics scoring in double figures with a game-high 32 points. He shot 10-of-18 from the field, 5-of-11 from long range and 7-of-8 from the charity stripe. It marks Thomas’ 70th 20-plus-point game of the season (the most in the Eastern Conference). Thomas also dished out six assists, grabbed two rebounds and had a steal but also turned the ball over a game-high six times.

Game Notes

With 23 points, Kemba Walker passed Larry Johnson (1992-93, 1,812) and Glen Rice (1997-98, 1,826) for the second most points ever scored in a Charlotte single-season, now having scored 1,830 points on the year. It marked Walker’s 55th 20-point game on the season and he now holds the second most single season 20-plus point outings in franchise history, passing Larry Johnson who had 54 in 1992-93… Walker has now hit 240 threes on the season, only needing three more to tie Jason Richardson (2007-08, 243) for most Charlotte three-pointers in a single season. Walker is the 10th different player in NBA history to hit 240-plus threes in a season… Jeremy Lamb led all reserves with 17 points on 6-of-8 field goals… Frank Kaminsky had a career-high seven assists… The win for Boston marks a season series sweep of Charlotte and their first against the Hornets since the 2011-12 season… The Celtics outscored Charlotte 40-30 in the paint and outshot Charlotte from three 17-9… Boston had 35 assists on the night, tying the most assists the Hornets have given up on the year… Marco Belinelli missed the game with a left finger strain.

Quote of the Night

“That’s what somebody told me, we’re like top 10 in differential, or something like that and we won’t make the playoffs, there’s one other team that’s done that in like the last 20 years or something. Because we won some big games and we lost a lot of close games. We’re a playoff team. We know that. We didn’t make it this year. In five months, we’ll work on it… I’m going to be back in the gym in two weeks. I’m going to dedicate my summer to this franchise… I’m going to be back on the court and work on myself, be back next year and bring this team back.” – Nicolas Batum

Quote of the Night

“That’s what somebody told me, we’re like top 10 in differential, or something like that and we won’t make the playoffs, there’s one other team that’s done that in like the last 20 years or something. Because we won some big games and we lost a lot of close games. We’re a playoff team. We know that. We didn’t make it this year. In five months, we’ll work on it… I’m going to be back in the gym in two weeks. I’m going to dedicate my summer to this franchise… I’m going to be back on the court and work on myself, be back next year and bring this team back.” – Nicolas Batum

Next Up

The Hornets close the season with a two-game road trip starting at 8 p.m. on April 10 against the Bucks at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Watch the game on Fox Sports Southeast or listen on the Hornets App or WFNZ.


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