NBA basketball games are won and lost by waves of momentum. The Celtics were building a wave during the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s game against the Hornets, but that wave fell apart quickly.
Boston trailed by five points heading into the fourth quarter. Kevin Garnett quickly made it a one-possession game with a 16-foot jumper to open up the final frame. New Orleans’ lead hovered between three and seven points for the next seven minutes and 17 seconds, but the C’s had an opportunity to put some real pressure on the young Hornets about midway through that stretch.
Jared Sullinger nailed a jumper from the top of the key to make it a 75-71 game midway through the quarter. The big man then raced back to the other end of the floor to block Al-Farouq Aminu’s shot attempt before grabbing the rebound and handing the ball of to one of his guards.
The Celtics’ ensuing possession was a critical one. The crowd was getting into the game, the team was building momentum and a bucket would have made the Hornets a bit skittish. However, Rajon Rondo missed a jumper and Aminu hauled in the rebound. Greivis Vazquez dribbled past the Celtics to the other end of the floor and put home a layup just eight seconds later.
That quick sequence absolutely changed the game. New Orleans went on to score 12 consecutive points to open up an 87-71 lead. The Celtics had their chance, but they failed to capitalize and fell 90-78.
Key Box Score Line
The Hornets crushed the Celtics from the free-throw line Wednesday night by a count of 31 attempts to 16. The main reason for that domination was Al-Farouq Aminu.
Boston had no answers for the third-year forward out of Wake Forest. Aminu stood at the charity stripe for a whopping 13 attempts Wednesday night and he made 12 of them. Those 13 attempts were just three less than Boston’s entire team attempted, and the 12 makes doubled the Celtics’ total.
Aminu’s 12 freebies helped him to rack up a game-high 18 points in less than 28 minutes of action. He also grabbed nine rebounds and two steals.
Box Score Nuggets
- Rajon Rondo's 11 assists were just one less than New Orleans' entire team accumulated.
- The teams combined to shoot just 6-of-35 from downtown (4-of-18 for Boston, 2-of-2 for New Orleans).
- Boston scored just 15 points in the fourth quarter.
- Paul Pierce fouled out of the game in just less than 31 minutes of play.
- The Hornets made 26 of their 31 free throws, while the Celtics shot just 6-of-16 from the charity stripe.
- Both teams led by at least 11 points in the game.
- New Orleans scored 48 of their 90 points in the paint.
- Al-Farouq Aminu led the game with 18 points thanks to a 12-of-13 performance at the free-throw line.
- Pierce notched a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
- The Celtics were outrebounded 48-33.
- Greivis Vazquez led the game with 11 rebounds.
- Jason Terry came alive to score 12 points off of the bench on 5-of-10 shooting.
- New Orleans scored 21 points off of Boston's 15 turnovers.
Quote of the Night
I’m going to get changed and go right to, not their locker room, but his office. And be like, ‘What’s up?’ Austin Rivers on trash-talking his father