First impressions: Hornets 93, Celtics 85
Instant reaction after the New Orleans Hornets posted an 93-85 triumph over the Boston Celtics Wednesday at the New Orleans Arena:
How the game was won: Darren Collison, starting in place of injured Chris Paul, scored a team-high 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting with 9 assists and 4 steals to pace the Hornets. Peja Stojakovic added 20 points, including a quartet of 3-pointers, while Morris Peterson added 16 points with a trio of trifectas for New Orleans. Celtics captain Paul Pierce, playing with a left mid-foot sprain, finished with a team-high 15 points, despite a 4-of-11 shooting performance, with 8 cringe-worthy turnovers and a minus-17 in the plus/minus category.
Turning point: Boasting a 12-point halftime lead, the Celtics once again came out flat in the third quarter and watched the Hornets outscore them 29-12, allowing the hosts to take a five-point lead into the final period. Boston led by double digits with just more than seven minutes to play in the third quarter, but an 11-0 burst over a 100-second span helped vault New Orleans to a 72-65 lead with 1:45 to go.
Stat of the game: The Celtics scored 30 points in the second half; New Orleans scored 29 in the third quarter.
Unsung hero: Marquis Daniels highlighted a tremendous bench effort, scoring 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting with 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 rebounds and a block over 21 minutes in his second game back since left-thumb surgery sidelined him for 28 games.
What it means: It's hard to put this one in words. The Celtics apparently didn't learn a single thing from Sunday's meltdown against the Magic. After being outscored 36-11 in the third quarter of that game, the Celtics watched New Orleans hold a 29-12 scoring advantage in the third period Wednesday. Fortunately for Boston, it's the All-Star break. The team desperately needs a mental health week. It will be interesting to see if the roster looks the same when they reconvene Feb. 16 in Sacramento.
Play Podcast Karl Ravech and Justin Havens put Clayton Kershaw's scoreless innings streak in perspective with Buster Olney and discuss the rash of injuries around MLB. Plus, Derrick Goold on Yadier Molina's injury and Alex Speier on the Red Sox.
Play Podcast Buster Olney and Tim Kurkjian discuss the rosters for the Home Run Derby, Jon Lester's future and more. Plus, Indians P Corey Kluber on his All-Star candidacy and Tigers P Joba Chamberlain.