CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Devonte Graham had 24 points and nine assists, P.J. Washington chipped in with 22 points and 12 rebounds and the Charlotte Hornets defeated the Boston Celtics 125-104 on Sunday.
Terry Rozier had 21 points and 11 assists and Miles Bridges stayed hot with 20 points as the Hornets avenged a 30-point loss to the Celtics earlier this season and pulled within 1 1/2 games of Boston for the sixth spot in the East.
Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown each had 20 points and Jayson Tatum added 19 points and 11 rebounds for Boston, which has dropped two straight games after winning seven of its previous eight.
Walker and Brown both returned to the lineup after sitting out the Celtics’ 109-104 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night.
The Hornets came out firing, hitting 10 of 12 shots to start the game, including 6 of 7 from 3-point range to build a 26-12 lead.
They never let up.
Charlotte moved the ball well and finished with a season-high 39 assists while playing aggressive defence .
Bridges beat the buzzer with a 40-foot pull-up jumper at the end of the third quarter.
Graham connected on a behind-the-back pass to Washington for a dunk and Bridges came up with a ferocious block that led to Rozier’s 3 at the other end helping extend Charlotte’s lead to 17.
After Graham knocked down an open 3 off a 4-on-1 Hornets fastbreak to push the lead to 20, Celtics coach Brad Stevens had seen enough and emptied his bench with 3:30 remaining.
The Celtics got a scare when Walker ran to the locker room midway though the second quarter after appearing to injure his left hip as he came to a jump stop while closing out on a corner 3 by Rozier.
Walker ran straight to the locker room, but returned later in the quarter.
Celtics: Were outscored 46-36 in the paint.
Hornets: Starters were a combined 12 of 18 from 3-point range in the first half. … Hornets had 22 assists on 24 baskets in the first half. … Shot 48.8% from 3-point range (21 of 43). … Cody Martin had 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Celtics: Host Thunder on Tuesday night.
Hornets: Host Bucks on Tuesday night.
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Steve Reed, The Associated Press