Terry Rozier, Hornets Continue Playoff Push with Win over Jayson Tatum, Celtics

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IIIApril 25, 2021

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum shoots over Charlotte Hornets center Bismack Biyombo during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Sunday, April 25, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Chris Carlson/Associated Press

The Charlotte Hornets picked up another big win Sunday, defeating the Boston Celtics 125-104 at home.  

The eighth-place Hornets, who have now won eight of their last 10 games, improved to 30-30 behind double-doubles from several starters. 

For the Celtics, who dropped to 32-29 and slid down into a tie with Miami for sixth place in the East, Jayson Tatum notched a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. 

Notable Performers

  • P.J. Washington, Hornets: 22 PTS, 12 REB
  • Devonte Graham, Hornets: 24 PTS, 2 REB
  • Terry Rozier, Hornets: 21 PTS, 11 AST
  • Cody Martin, Hornets: 13 PTS, 10 REB
  • Jayson Tatum, Celtics: 19 PTS, 11 REB

Sloppy Offense Limits Rare Healthy Celtics

The Celtics entered Sunday after facing two of the toughest teams in the NBA in a back-to-back, defeating the Phoenix Suns on Thursday before falling to the Brooklyn Nets on Friday. For both of those games, they were without star Jaylen Brown due to a shoulder injury. 

Without him, the team's other All-Star, Jayson Tatum, has had to carry the load, scoring 38 points against the Nets and 15 against the Suns, though he starred on the glass with 11 rebounds that game. 

While the team had its offensive production back in the lineup, that did little to solve what was at the heart of its recent struggles. The Celtics entered Sunday averaging 14.3 turnovers per game, a mark they surpassed in each of their recent losses with 20 against Phoenix and 19 against Brooklyn. 

Against Charlotte, they lost the ball three times in the first five minutes of play, and the Hornets capitalized to score seven points on those turnovers as Charlotte opened up to as high as a 23-8 lead.

Charlotte Hornets @hornets

"I'll take that!" @T_Rozzay3 | @HornetsOnBally https://t.co/TugGoZHv2D

Mark Murphy @Murf56

Terry Rozier right there to illustrate the Celtics' greatest fault right now - carelessness with the ball

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA

Incredibly lazy turnover from Tatum. That's embarrassing.


In the second quarter, their healthy lineup took a blow when Kemba Walker left the court with an apparent hip injury, and the turnover woes continued as they made four in five possessions and ended the half with nine, which resulted in 11 points for the Hornets

Walker ended up making it back to the court. But heading into the half down by 11, it seemed like the Celtics wouldn't make it out of the hole they fell into in the opening 24 minutes.

Tom Westerholm @Tom_NBA

This felt like a game the Celtics could win if they weathered the early barrage of 3-pointers and then they turned it over nine times in like eight minutes, and now they get to try to overcome that too.


The damage could have been worse if Brown didn't make it back to the lineup, considering he led with 12 points and five rebounds at the break. Walker was good for 10 points, while Tatum only had five points and was responsible for four turnovers. 

Mark Murphy @Murf56

Tatum now has five turnovers for the third straight game, and four or more for the fourth straight.


The team—or at least Marcus Smart—showed signs of life when they went on a 12-2 run late in the third, cutting the lead to nine points. But even that ended unceremoniously, as Smart turned the ball over to Miles Bridges, who hit a deep three at the buzzer. 


Bridges beats the buzzer from DEEP! @hornets 100 @celtics 88 4Q underway on ESPN https://t.co/QLRMGWKetG


Boston should have been able to capitalize against a Hornets team that has been playing without some of its headline pieces, but it didn't force Charlotte to break a sweat in the loss.

In a game that had serious Eastern Conference standing implications, the Celtics didn't do enough, and it could be a tough sign of things to come down the line for Boston. 

Charlotte—which had two former Boston Celtics feature prominently Sunday (Terry Rozier and Brad Wanamaker) in the absence of a third (Gordon Hayward)—buried Boston early thanks to strong shooting from deep and taking advantage of a sloppy Boston offense. 

The Hornets opened by hitting six of seven attempts from three, though that production slowed as they entered the second quarter having missed their next four attempts from beyond the arc. Against a Celtics defense that entered the day ranking 12th in the league in defensive rating, they shot 54.2 percent from the field in the opening 12 minutes and went into the half with 51.1 percent success. 

Rick Bonnell @rick_bonnell

Hornets: "You make a 3....and you make a 3...and..." https://t.co/tJSUiv58Wa


Rozier broke out in the first half against his former team. 

Rick Bonnell @rick_bonnell

Terry Rozier is on a "Remember me, Celtics?" mission this half.

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA

In his pregame interview, Terry Rozier said "I have a lot of love for those guys in Boston. But I haven't beaten them yet. That's gotta change." He's doing his part for sure.


He ended the first half with 11 points and a game-high eight assists, already nearing his career most of 11 with 24 minutes left on the clock.

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

This lob is a beauty 😍 https://t.co/quqOj5lzax


The Hornets were able to move the ball around without giving it up, as Charlotte had 22 assists on its 24 makes in the half. 

Cody Martin also tallied 11 points for Charlotte, which was led by P.J. Washington's 14 points heading into the break. 

Charlotte brought its balanced attack into the second half and continued to take advantage of a Celtics team that was struggling to find consistency. By the end of the afternoon, the Hornets had four of five stars score at least 20 points, headlined by double-doubles from several starters, a good sign of things to come for the Hornets down the line. 

What's Next? 

The Celtics return home to host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.

The Hornets will host the Milwaukee Bucks at the same time then head to Boston for a rematch with the Celtics at 7:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday.