Despite San Antonio taking an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter, the Celtics warmed up quick with Jaylen Brown hitting seven straight points to even the scoreboard.
Brown finished as top scorer with 30 points, adding seven rebounds and three assists, whilst Kemba Walker hit 26, complementing his score with five rebounds and a game-high eight assists.
Boston maintained control throughout, leading 72-54 by halftime as the Spurs offence seemed messy at times and their defence weak. However, San Antonio did beat Boston in stats on three’s hitting 46% compared to 37.8% but fell short from the field with 39% compared to 51%. DeMar DeRozan led San Antonio in points, with 22 and added four assists.
The Celtics remain top of the Eastern Conference as San Antonio slip down to ninth in the West.
The New Orleans Pelicans (2-7) pulled in their second win of the season against the Charlotte Hornets (4-5) after suffering a three-game winning streak.
Pelicans 115, Hornets 110
Head coach Alvin Gentry made changes to the starting lineup, placing JJ Redick at shooting the guard and Kenrich Williams at power forward in hopes of providing his team with a catalyst for the comeback. Jrue Holiday started as the Pelicans’ point guard whilst regular starter, Lonzo Ball, was benched with a groin injury. Something definitely made a difference for New Orleans last night, whether it was the reshuffled lineup is unclear.
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The Pelicans came out strong in the first with a defensive intensity forcing Charlotte into several tough contested jump shots and eight turnovers in that period alone. The Hornets walked away with 22 overall turnovers, but unfortunately, New Orleans was just as careless on offence topping them with 26.
Brandon Ingram led with a 25-point, nine-rebound, four-assist performance as he led the Pelicans, hitting 10 first-quarter points as New Orleans entered the second at a 33-28 lead. However, they slowly fell back into poor play with four straight turnovers, committing 16 by halftime, had they been playing stiffer competition this would surely have signalled disaster.
Redick kept the Pelicans in the game with nine points in the second quarter, despite the team’s poor 38% on shooting from the field. He finished the game with 22 points, five rebounds and two steals. Starting centre Derrick Favors also had an impressive game, finishing the game with 10 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. Although these aren’t the big numbers you see from other star players, Favors enable New Orleans to prolong possession and earn second-chance points, also signalling that he could be moving past his injury.
Devonte' Graham led the Hornets with 25 points, five rebounds and an impressive 10 assists, with Cody Zeller grabbing a team-high eight rebounds.
Despite Redick’s sharpshooting, the Pelicans fell behind by five as they entered the final quarter, but it really was either team’s game. However, New Orleans was just clumsy with numerous travel calls, Redick stepping out of bounds three times and a poor free throw percentage. It looked set that they would again finish with a loss if Ingram hadn’t stepped up to hit 10 points in the final period.
New Orleans’ offence finally moved smoothly as they seized several clutch rebounds to extend possessions. With under 2.30 left in the final quarter, Jrue Holiday set up a pick-and-roll with Derrick Favors as both Hornet defenders followed Holiday and Favors had the open lane. Kenrich Williams was left open in the corner as his defender slipped to help pick up Favors, the veteran centre quickly passed to Williams who sank the open three to pull the Pelicans lead up to six.
Saturday's NBA Results:
Thunder 114, Warriors 108
Rockets 117, Bulls 94
Mavericks 138, Grizzlies 122News Now - Sport News