December 24, 2018 / 1:42 AM / 24 days ago

Irving helps Celtics cruise past Hornets

Kyrie Irving scored 25 points and dished out five assists to lead the host Boston Celtics to a 119-103 rout of the visiting Charlotte Hornets on Sunday at TD Garden.

Jayson Tatum added 17 points to pace four other Celtics in double figures. Marcus Morris added 12 points and eight rebounds, while Al Horford and Daniel Theis chipped in 10 points apiece.

Kemba Walker (21 points) Willy Hernangomez (19 points), Jeremy Lamb (14) and Malik Monk (13) finished in double figures for Charlotte, which was vying for its third straight win. Hernangomez added 10 rebounds to record a double-double.

The Celtics consistently capitalized on the visitors’ offensive struggles after halftime, taking a 30-point lead on a Tatum 3-pointer at the 5:07 mark of the third quarter. After scoring on their first possession of the quarter, the Hornets missed their next five shots. Charlotte shot 8-for-21 and committed eight turnovers in the third.

Boston, meanwhile, went 10-for-20 from the field in the third and led by as many as 33 points in the second half.

Walker opened the game on a tear, scoring 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting in nine first-quarter minutes. His surge featured a pair of 3-pointers as well as a transition basket after stealing the ball from Tatum and taking it the length of the floor.

Boston began gaining separation in the second quarter. The Celtics went on a 9-2 run in the first 2:28, punctuating the sequence on Gordon Hayward’s alley-oop dunk from Terry Rozier to take a 38-28 lead. The Hornets drew within eight points on a Tony Parker layup with 7:33 to go before halftime before Boston responded again.

The Celtics closed the half on a 25-12 run while swishing four 3-pointers, including one from Irving, who had 23 first-half points on 8-for-10 shooting.

Charlotte won the teams’ first meeting this season, rallying from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit on its home floor to defeat Boston 117-112 on Nov. 19. Walker also shined in that meeting, scoring 21 of his 43 points in the fourth quarter. The Hornets have not won successive games against the Celtics in the same season since 2012-13.

—Field Level Media

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