The Boston Celtics have had quite the January, finishing the month 11-4 after the young core carried the team to a 126-94 win over the Charlotte Hornets at TD Garden.
Jayson Tatum got things rolling early for the Celtics, connecting on 4-of-5 from the field for nine points in the first seven minutes of play. Tatum finished with a season-high 13 first quarter points.
A 10-2 run gave the Boston a seven-point lead going into the second quarter.
It was Jaylen Brown who came off the bench that kept the Celtics ahead at the end of the first half.
With Tatum getting rest, Brown contributed 15 points in 12 minutes and knocked down a few threes and dunks.
Though the Celtics’ offense was clicking early, so was Charlotte’s, and Boston saw its lead dwindle. An 11-0 run by the Hornets made it a tie game at 54-54.
Thanks to a three-pointer with less than two seconds left on the clock by Terry Rozier III, who started in place of an injured Kyrie Irving, the Celtics held a 63-59 lead over the Hornets going into the third quarter.
The Celtics proved to be too much for the Hornets in the second half.
Strong defense by Boston led to steals and turnovers, which resulted in more points. The Celtics outscored the Hornets 35-16 in the third quarter, thanks largely in part to the gritty play of Marcus Smart and Rozier on both ends of the ball.
Brown, who is averaging 19.5 points on 55.6 percent shooting over his last four games, finished with a double-double with a game-high 24 points and 10 rebounds in 30 minutes, while Tatum scored 20 points of his own. Rozier recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 assists, a season-high. Marcus Morris added 15 points and seven rebounds and Al Horford chipped in with 14 points and seven rebounds.
Gordon Hayward dropped 12 points off the bench.
Kemba Walker led the way for Charlotte with 21 points and Malik Monk tallied 16 off the bench.
As a team, the Celtics shot 55. 6 percent from the floor scored 64 points in the paint, compared to Charlotte’s 43.8 percent and 42 points.
Every Celtic who played scored.
The Celtics, No. 5 in the Eastern Conference, will look to stay hot on Feb. 1 against the New York Knicks.
The Hornets, No. 8 in the Eastern Conference, will open up a three-game home stand on Feb. 1 against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Photo: (Brian Babineau/ NBAE via Getty Images)