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Celtics beat Hornets 108-87 in Walker's return to Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) As he peered up at the videoboard suspended above the court, Kemba Walker broke into a wide smile and tears trickled down his cheeks.

The Hornets honored their all-time leading scorer with a highlight video Thursday night, giving the Boston Celtics point guard a hero's welcome in his return to Charlotte. As the tribute ended, the crowd erupted with a loud, one-minute standing ovation.

''It was special,'' Walker said. ''Just to be back here and the amount of love I have been getting today and leading up to this day. The video just topped it off. It made me really emotional. I was trying to hold it in, but I couldn't. I knew I wasn't going to be able to.''

Jayson Tatum scored 23 points, and Walker got what he ultimately wanted - a victory - in his homecoming game as the Celtics soundly defeated the Charlotte Hornets, 108-87.

It was an underwhelming performance by Walker's standards.

The three-time All-Star who once scored 60 points on this court was held to 14 on 4-of-12 shooting, and didn't make his first field goal until three minutes into the third quarter.

Walker said the video didn't impact his play on the court, but coach Brad Stevens believed it contributed.

''Yeah, it's really hard,'' Stevens said. ''He had the right idea coming into the game but you knew right after they played that video, that probably was going to be a tough start. That was really cool and a great tribute by the Hornets. I know how much he appreciated it.''

Walked played eight seasons in Charlotte before signing with the Celtics after Hornets owner Michael Jordan elected not to give Walker a five-year, $221 million supermax contract.

But he left on good terms with the organization and its fans. After the game, Walker stayed on the court hugging members of the organization, including some of the ushers.

''It's always great to see Kemba,'' Hornets coach James Borrego said. ''I love that guy. He has a great spirit. He's a great competitor and a wonderful person. I think it was a good night for him and for all of us. Both teams have moved on, but it's always good to see him.''

Gordon Hayward added 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, who scored 17 points off 21 Charlotte turnovers.

Miles Bridges had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Hornets, who had their three-game win streak snapped. Charlotte was just 6 of 31 from 3-point range.

TIP-INS

Celtics: Stevens said center Enes Kanter is improving from a bruised left knee, but isn't quite ready to return.

Hornets: Bridges received a technical after mixing it up with Marcus Smart in the fourth quarter. ... The Hornets had nine blocks.

SMART MOVE

Smart was upset after picking up his fifth foul and clapped in disgust in the direction of the Celtics bench after a couple of coaches appeared to be yelling at him on the court.

Stevens said Smart's actions didn't bother him at all.

''This is the part about Marcus that I love - his fire, his competitiveness,'' Stevens said. ''If there's a moment when he's upset with us, that's all part of it, we move on pretty quickly. We've been together a long time and I've been yelled at before and that's OK. I love him and I trust him and he'll get every opportunity.''

ROZIER STRUGGLES

Terry Rozier, signed by the Hornets to replace Walker, was hoping for a big game against his former team but struggled all night and was held to three points after shooting 1 of 11 from the field.

''He tried to play the right way but shots weren't falling,'' Borrego said. ''He competed tonight and he just has to stick with it. It's an emotional game. It's always an interesting game. I think Kemba felt the same way in the first half. I think Kemba was 0 for 6 in the first half and I think Terry was 0 for 6.''

WILLIAMS' RETURN

Celtics rookie Grant Williams grew up about six minutes from the Spectrum Center - and reminded his teammates of that on the way into Charlotte.

''When we were on the bus I was annoying because I was calling out interstates and talking about buildings like I'm a tour guide and everyone was telling me to shut up because it was 1 a.m.,'' Williams said with a laugh.

UP NEXT

Celtics: Boston takes its six-game win streak on the road Saturday to San Antonio.

Hornets: Wrap up a three-game homestand when they host the Pelicans on Saturday night.

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Key Players
K. Walker
8 PG
D. Graham
4 PG
31.1 Min. Per Game 31.1
17.3 Pts. Per Game 17.3
6.7 Ast. Per Game 6.7
3.9 Reb. Per Game 3.9
39.7 Field Goal % 41.8
39.8 Three Point % 40.4
91.7 Free Throw % 79.5
  24-second shot clock violation turnover 0:06
  Defensive rebound by Brad Wanamaker 0:29
  Cody Martin missed 3-pt. jump shot 0:33
+ 2 Javonte Green made floating jump shot, assist by Brad Wanamaker 0:44
+ 1 Cody Martin made 2nd of 2 free throws 0:59
+ 1 Cody Martin made 1st of 2 free throws 0:59
  Shooting foul on Vincent Poirier 0:59
+ 2 Brad Wanamaker made driving layup, assist by Carsen Edwards 1:11
  Defensive rebound by Carsen Edwards 1:18
  Caleb Martin missed 3-pt. jump shot 1:22
  Defensive rebound by Miles Bridges 1:32
Team Stats
Points 108 87
Field Goals 40-93 (43.0%) 33-86 (38.4%)
3-Pointers 10-33 (30.3%) 6-31 (19.4%)
Free Throws 18-23 (78.3%) 15-21 (71.4%)
Total Rebounds 58 59
Offensive 11 9
Defensive 41 40
Team 6 10
Assists 29 21
Steals 13 7
Blocks 5 9
Turnovers 12 20
Fouls 19 19
Technicals 1 1
20 PTS, 10 REB, 6 AST
15 PTS, 4 REB, 9 AST
1234T
away team logo Celtics 6-1 30223323108
home team logo Hornets 4-4 2023242087
Team Stats
away team logo Celtics 6-1 115.1 PPG 46.3 RPG 24.6 APG
home team logo Hornets 4-4 106.7 PPG 41.2 RPG 23.7 APG
Key Players
J. Tatum PF 20.2 PPG 7.3 RPG 2.4 APG 39.1 FG%
M. Bridges SF 11.6 PPG 5.1 RPG 2.2 APG 44.8 FG%
Top Scorers
J. Tatum PF 23 PTS 9 REB 1 AST
M. Bridges SF 18 PTS 10 REB 1 AST
43.0 FG% 38.4
30.3 3PT FG% 19.4
78.3 FT% 71.4
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
J. Tatum 23 9 1 8/17 4/6 3/4 0 28 2 1 1 2 7 +13 36
G. Hayward 20 10 6 9/16 1/5 1/1 1 29 1 0 0 1 9 +20 43
K. Walker 14 2 6 4/12 3/9 3/3 0 29 1 0 2 0 2 +20 27
J. Brown 12 5 1 5/9 0/2 2/2 1 32 1 0 2 0 5 +13 18
D. Theis 5 7 2 2/8 0/1 1/2 4 19 0 2 1 3 4 +5 17
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
J. Tatum 23 9 1 8/17 4/6 3/4 0 28 2 1 1 2 7 +13 36
G. Hayward 20 10 6 9/16 1/5 1/1 1 29 1 0 0 1 9 +20 43
K. Walker 14 2 6 4/12 3/9 3/3 0 29 1 0 2 0 2 +20 27
J. Brown 12 5 1 5/9 0/2 2/2 1 32 1 0 2 0 5 +13 18
D. Theis 5 7 2 2/8 0/1 1/2 4 19 0 2 1 3 4 +5 17
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
J. Green 12 1 0 5/9 0/2 2/2 0 12 0 0 0 0 1 +2 13
B. Wanamaker 9 3 3 3/4 1/1 2/2 2 16 2 0 0 0 3 +6 20
R. Williams 7 5 1 2/2 0/0 3/6 1 13 2 0 3 1 4 +9 13
M. Smart 6 2 5 2/8 1/4 1/1 5 22 2 0 1 0 2 +10 19
S. Ojeleye 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 -3 0
C. Edwards 0 3 1 0/3 0/2 0/0 0 11 0 1 1 0 3 -3 5
G. Williams 0 2 3 0/2 0/1 0/0 3 15 1 0 0 1 1 +13 9
V. Poirier 0 3 0 0/3 0/0 0/0 2 5 1 1 1 3 0 0 4
E. Kanter - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Fall - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Waters - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Langford - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 108 52 29 40/93 10/33 18/23 19 235 13 5 12 11 41 +105 224
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
M. Bridges 18 10 1 8/14 2/5 0/0 1 33 0 1 4 2 8 -22 27
D. Bacon 8 4 1 3/9 1/3 1/2 1 21 1 1 3 1 3 -8 13
C. Zeller 5 10 1 2/6 0/1 1/2 2 19 0 0 1 3 7 -17 16
P. Washington 4 8 2 1/8 0/1 2/3 3 27 0 5 1 2 6 -12 20
T. Rozier 3 3 2 1/11 0/3 1/1 3 26 1 0 4 0 3 -14 7
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
M. Bridges 18 10 1 8/14 2/5 0/0 1 33 0 1 4 2 8 -22 27
D. Bacon 8 4 1 3/9 1/3 1/2 1 21 1 1 3 1 3 -8 13
C. Zeller 5 10 1 2/6 0/1 1/2 2 19 0 0 1 3 7 -17 16
P. Washington 4 8 2 1/8 0/1 2/3 3 27 0 5 1 2 6 -12 20
T. Rozier 3 3 2 1/11 0/3 1/1 3 26 1 0 4 0 3 -14 7
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
D. Graham 15 4 9 5/14 2/10 3/5 3 30 2 0 2 1 3 -12 37
M. Williams 9 4 0 4/7 0/2 1/1 1 17 1 0 0 0 4 -8 14
B. Biyombo 8 2 0 4/5 0/0 0/0 2 14 0 1 1 0 2 -9 10
Co. Martin 7 3 3 2/4 0/1 3/3 1 16 2 0 0 0 3 -2 18
W. Hernangomez 5 0 0 2/4 1/2 0/0 0 6 0 1 1 0 0 0 5
M. Monk 4 0 2 1/3 0/2 2/2 2 21 0 0 2 0 0 -1 6
Ca. Martin 1 1 0 0/1 0/1 1/2 0 6 0 0 1 0 1 0 1
N. Batum - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Kidd-Gilchrist - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. McDaniels - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Simmons - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Franks - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 87 49 21 33/86 6/31 15/21 19 236 7 9 20 9 40 -105 174