Walker sparks late rally, Hornets beat Boston 124-117

Walker sparks late rally, Hornets beat Boston 124-117
Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker reacts after scoring and getting fouled by the Celtics in the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 23, 2019, in Charlotte, N.C. The Hornets won 124 - 117. (AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kemba Walker scored 18 of his game-high 36 points in the fourth quarter and the Charlotte Hornets rallied to beat the Boston Celtics 124-117 Saturday night.

It was Walker’s 23rd game of 30 or more points this season. He added 11 rebounds and nine assists.

Rookie Miles Bridges scored a career-high 20 points, Marvin Williams and Malik Monk added 13 points apiece and Dwayne Bacon scored 11.

Charlotte won its second straight, improved to 33-39 and kept its faint postseason hopes alive.

Kyrie Irving led Boston with 31 points. Jaylen Brown added 29 points and Marcus Morris 15. The Celtics (43-30) lost their third straight game despite hitting 19 3-pointers.

Trailing 112-94 with 8:22 remaining, Charlotte closed the game on a 30-5 run that included all 18 of Walker’s fourth quarter points.

In front of a sellout crowd of 19,438 at Spectrum Center, Irving scored 16 first-quarter points as the Celtics appeared to take control of the game.

But Charlotte rallied and closed within 64-63 at halftime.

The Celtics built an 18-point lead with 8:22 left. Charlotte scored on 12 of its last 19 possessions to catch and pass Boston. Walker scored his 18 fourth quarter points in the final 7:43, including two clinching free throws with 5.9 seconds left.

Boston scored twice on its final 20 offensive posessions.


Celtics: Aron Baynes (left ankle sprain) and Gordon Hayward (concussion protocol) could be back in action on Sunday, though neither was in Charlotte with the team. Baynes injured his ankle in Wednesday’s 118-115 loss at Philadelphia and Hayward missed his third game on Saturday. The Celtics lost another player, 6-foot-10 rookie Robert Williams, who suffered a lower back injury when he landed hard after missing a follow dunk in the second quarter.

Hornets: Cody Zeller (left knee) missed his sixth straight game and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (concussion protocol) his second straight game on Saturday. Nicolas Batum also missed Saturday’s game — his second of the year — due to illness.


Celtics: Host San Antonio on Sunday.

Hornets: Visit Toronto on Sunday.


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