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Irving scores 25, Celtics beat Hornets 119-103 to end skid

BOSTON (AP) A little internal venting seemed to get the Boston Celtics back on track.

Kyrie Irving scored 25 points, Jayson Tatum had 17 and the Celtics ended a three-game skid with a 119-103 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday night.

Boston was coming off a 120-107 loss at home to Milwaukee on Friday, which prompted a closed-door meeting in the locker room. The Celtics came out Sunday looking much more like the team that had won eight straight before the skid.

''The team meeting was good,'' said Marcus Morris, who had 12 points and eight rebounds for the Celtics. ''We talked about a few things. Guys understood where other guys were coming from. We just opened up to each other, and I think it was beneficial.''

In addition to clearing the air, the Celtics had Al Horford back in the lineup after he missed seven games with a sore left knee. Horford finished with 10 points and six rebounds.

Irving said Horford's return certainly helped on the court and in the locker room with another veteran voice helping smooth over the recent tensions.

''We have so much depth,'' Irving said. ''Getting past those things, just egocentric things, this is a chance of a lifetime for us. In order to achieve what we want to, we have to be closer as a team.''

The Celtics responded Sunday by scoring the first nine points and never trailed. Boston shot 50 percent and outrebounded the Hornets 47-37.

''They just wanted it more. They came out hungrier,'' said Kemba Walker, who led Charlotte with 21 points. ''They came out on a mission, and they accomplished it.''

After a tight first quarter, the Celtics blew it open in the second, starting with eight straight points during a 14-1 run. Boston made 23 of 44 shots in the second quarter and took a 68-47 lead into halftime.

The third quarter was more of the same, with Boston opening on a 12-4 run and taking an 80-53 lead when Irving drove for a layup while drawing a foul with 6:57 left in the period.

The reserves took over in the fourth quarter and all but one Boston player finished with at least three points. Brad Wanamaker was the only member of the Celtics without a point, missing his only two shots in 7:10 of the fourth quarter.

STARTING LINES

After pacing the Hornets through a tight first quarter with 14 points, Walker scored only seven the rest of the way. Jeremy Lamb was the only other starter for Charlotte to score in double figures with 14 points - tying the combined total for the Hornets' three other starters.

Boston's starters outscored Charlotte's 70-49.

''I think in our overall mentality just wasn't there tonight,'' Charlotte coach James Borrego said. ''They were just the more aggressive team. They just looked like the more hungry team tonight.''

BIG AL

Horford said his knee felt good after playing 19 minutes Sunday, making all four of his shots and adding five assists. Coach Brad Stevens said Horford's minutes were capped at 20, which was not an issue as he and the rest of Boston's starters rested the entire fourth quarter.

''I'm just happy that I was able to go out there and play with a lot of energy. It's just good to be back. Sitting on the sidelines is tough, not being able to be on the court and help the guys,'' said Horford, who made his 900th career block in the third quarter.

TIP-INS

Hornets: Walker scored 18 of Charlotte's 47 points in the first half. ... Malik Monk had 13 points - all in the fourth quarter. ... Willy Hernangomez added 19 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.

Celtics: Irving led all scorers with 23 points at halftime, making 8 of 10 shots, including four 3-pointers. ... Morris scored 10 points in the second quarter. ... Irving had five assists. ... Daniel Theis finished with 10 points.

UP NEXT

Hornets: Visit Brooklyn on Wednesday night.

Celtics: Host Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

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Key Players
K. Walker
15 PG
K. Irving
11 PG
32.1 Min. Per Game 32.1
22.6 Pts. Per Game 22.6
6.4 Ast. Per Game 6.4
4.9 Reb. Per Game 4.9
42.6 Field Goal % 48.4
42.3 Three Point % 48.0
83.0 Free Throw % 83.7
+ 3 Miles Bridges made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Devonte' Graham 0:14
  Defensive rebound by Willy Hernangomez 0:27
  Guerschon Yabusele missed 3-pt. jump shot 0:30
+ 1 Malik Monk made 2nd of 2 free throws 0:40
  Personal foul on Brad Wanamaker 0:40
+ 2 Robert Williams made reverse layup, assist by Guerschon Yabusele 0:51
+ 2 Willy Hernangomez made layup, assist by Miles Bridges 1:04
  Defensive rebound by Miles Bridges 1:07
+ 1 Devonte' Graham made free throw 1:24
  Shooting foul on Brad Wanamaker 1:24
+ 2 Devonte' Graham made floating jump shot 1:24
Team Stats
Points 103 119
Field Goals 38-88 (43.2%) 43-86 (50.0%)
3-Pointers 8-32 (25.0%) 13-39 (33.3%)
Free Throws 19-26 (73.1%) 20-25 (80.0%)
Total Rebounds 49 56
Offensive 9 11
Defensive 28 36
Team 12 9
Assists 24 30
Steals 9 8
Blocks 5 4
Turnovers 9 14
Fouls 17 22
Technicals 1 0
21 PTS, 3 REB, 4 AST
25 PTS, 4 REB, 5 AST
1234T
away team logo Hornets 16-16 26212036103
home team logo Celtics 19-13 29392625119
Team Stats
away team logo Hornets 16-16 112.2 PPG 44.8 RPG 23.8 APG
home team logo Celtics 19-13 112.1 PPG 45.2 RPG 25.9 APG
Key Players
K. Walker PG 25.0 PPG 4.3 RPG 5.6 APG 43.5 FG%
K. Irving PG 23.4 PPG 4.8 RPG 6.8 APG 49.9 FG%
Top Scorers
K. Walker PG 21 PTS 3 REB 4 AST
K. Irving PG 25 PTS 4 REB 5 AST
43.2 FG% 50.0
25.0 3PT FG% 33.3
73.1 FT% 80.0
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
K. Walker 21 3 4 8/15 3/8 2/2 0 28 2 1 2 0 3 -21 33
J. Lamb 14 3 5 4/12 1/6 5/8 1 27 1 0 1 0 3 -23 27
N. Batum 5 4 1 2/6 1/2 0/0 2 22 0 0 1 0 4 -18 10
C. Zeller 5 3 0 2/4 0/1 1/2 4 19 0 0 0 1 2 -12 8
M. Williams 4 1 1 1/9 0/5 2/2 4 25 1 0 0 0 1 -25 8
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
K. Walker 21 3 4 8/15 3/8 2/2 0 28 2 1 2 0 3 -21 33
J. Lamb 14 3 5 4/12 1/6 5/8 1 27 1 0 1 0 3 -23 27
N. Batum 5 4 1 2/6 1/2 0/0 2 22 0 0 1 0 4 -18 10
C. Zeller 5 3 0 2/4 0/1 1/2 4 19 0 0 0 1 2 -12 8
M. Williams 4 1 1 1/9 0/5 2/2 4 25 1 0 0 0 1 -25 8
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
W. Hernangomez 19 10 2 8/11 0/1 3/5 0 23 0 2 2 5 5 0 33
M. Monk 13 1 1 4/8 2/6 3/3 1 15 1 0 1 1 0 +15 16
M. Kidd-Gilchrist 7 2 0 3/7 0/0 1/1 2 18 0 1 2 2 0 -12 8
D. Graham 7 1 5 3/5 0/1 1/1 0 12 2 0 0 0 1 +11 20
M. Bridges 3 7 3 1/6 1/2 0/0 2 26 2 1 0 0 7 -5 19
T. Parker 3 1 2 1/4 0/0 1/2 0 11 0 0 0 0 1 -7 8
D. Bacon 2 1 0 1/1 0/0 0/0 1 8 0 0 0 0 1 +17 3
B. Biyombo - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
F. Kaminsky - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Chealey - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Macura - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 103 37 24 38/88 8/32 19/26 17 234 9 5 9 9 28 -80 193
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
K. Irving 25 4 5 9/12 4/6 3/4 1 28 0 1 1 1 3 +25 39
J. Tatum 17 4 1 6/13 3/8 2/3 0 23 0 0 2 0 4 +17 21
M. Morris 12 8 0 5/10 2/4 0/0 1 20 0 0 1 2 6 +26 19
A. Horford 10 6 5 4/4 0/0 2/3 2 19 0 1 1 2 4 +19 26
M. Smart 6 2 5 2/5 2/4 0/0 3 28 3 0 0 2 0 +17 21
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
K. Irving 25 4 5 9/12 4/6 3/4 1 28 0 1 1 1 3 +25 39
J. Tatum 17 4 1 6/13 3/8 2/3 0 23 0 0 2 0 4 +17 21
M. Morris 12 8 0 5/10 2/4 0/0 1 20 0 0 1 2 6 +26 19
A. Horford 10 6 5 4/4 0/0 2/3 2 19 0 1 1 2 4 +19 26
M. Smart 6 2 5 2/5 2/4 0/0 3 28 3 0 0 2 0 +17 21
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
D. Theis 10 5 1 4/5 1/1 1/2 4 17 0 0 1 3 2 +9 16
T. Rozier 9 6 6 3/10 0/4 3/3 1 25 1 1 1 0 6 -3 28
G. Hayward 8 7 2 2/7 0/2 4/4 1 24 0 0 1 1 6 +11 18
J. Brown 8 1 2 3/9 0/4 2/2 4 15 3 0 2 0 1 +6 14
R. Williams 6 2 0 2/3 0/0 2/2 1 11 1 1 3 0 2 -12 7
S. Ojeleye 5 2 1 2/4 1/3 0/0 2 12 0 0 1 0 2 -11 8
G. Yabusele 3 0 1 1/2 0/1 1/2 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 -11 5
B. Wanamaker 0 0 1 0/2 0/2 0/0 2 7 0 0 0 0 0 -13 2
A. Baynes - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Bird - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
P. Dozier - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
W. Lemon Jr. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 119 47 30 43/86 13/39 20/25 22 235 8 4 14 11 36 +80 224