National Basketball Association
Charlotte at Boston
When: 7:30 PM ET, Friday, February 27, 2015
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Two teams in contention for the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference square off Friday when the Boston Celtics host the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets snapped a five-game skid with a 98-86 win at Chicago on Wednesday to pull into an eighth-place tie with Brooklyn, but they have plenty of close pursuers. The Celtics are one of three teams who are a game out of eighth.
Charlotte's playoff hopes seemed unlikely when star guard Kemba Walker went out with a knee injury, but newly acquired point guard Mo Williams has averaged 21 points in his first three games with the Hornets. "I enjoy playing with these guys, and they enjoy playing with me," Williams told reporters. "I can tell winning is a priority, and that makes things more significant and fun." Charlotte has won the first two meetings this season, each by nine points.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, SportSouth (Charlotte), CSN New England (Boston)
ABOUT THE HORNETS (23-32): The addition of Williams has made Charlotte a more versatile team again, adding a perimeter scoring threat to the solid frontcourt duo of Al Jefferson (17.2 points, 8.7 rebounds) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (10.8 points, 7.2 rebounds). The Hornets also have gotten back to playing solid defense the past two games after a rare stretch of three straight games allowing 100 or more points. Charlotte commits the fewest turnovers in the league (11.8 per game) and gives up the fewest offensive rebounds (8.6 per game).
ABOUT THE CELTICS (22-33): Boston has turned over a big chunk of its roster through trades, and three newcomers led the way in Wednesday's 115-94 win against New York. Jonas Jerebko (20 points) and Isaiah Thomas (19 points) both had big games in their home debuts for the Celtics, and Jae Crowder added 18 points as he continues to take on a bigger role since being acquired from Dallas in the Rajon Rondo deal in December. Evan Turner (8.8 points, five rebounds, 4.9 assists) has become more of a catalyst at the offensive end since the Rondo trade and recorded his first career triple-double against the Knicks.
1. The Hornets are 3-24 when they are outrebounded but 19-7 when they win the battle on the boards.
2. Boston C Kelly Olynyk (sprained right ankle) has missed 15 straight games but is expected to return within a week.
3. Charlotte C Bismack Biyombo (bruised right knee) is expected to miss his 11th consecutive game but could return Sunday at Orlando.
PREDICTION: Celtics 101, Hornets 97
Stats and Records