Celtics rally from big deficit to beat Hornets 106-98

Isaiah Thomas scored 28 points and the Boston Celtics recovered from a 16-point third-quarter deficit to defeat the Charlotte Hornets 106-98 on Friday night.

It was the third straight win for the Celtics, who were outscored 25-1 over stretch of nine-plus minutes that spanned the end of the second quarter and beginning of the third. Marvin Williams’ layup at the 3:27 mark in the third gave the Hornets the biggest lead either team had, at 16 points.

Led by Thomas, who scored 21 points in the second half, the Celtics battled back to tie it at 80 on his 3-pointer and reclaimed the lead for good, at 89-88, on Jonas Jerebko’s layup at the 5:28 mark.

In his third game since joining the Celtics in a deadline deal with Detroit, Jerebko had 16 points and 10 rebounds. Avery Bradley scored 19 points, Jae Crowder added 14 and Marcus Smart had 10 points.

Losers of six of their last seven, the Hornets were again led by Mo Williams, who scored 31 points. In four games since joining the Hornets after a trade with Minnesota on Feb. 10, Williams is averaging 23.5 points per game.

All of the Hornets’ starters scored in double figures, including Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who had 12 points and 11 rebounds.

TIP-INS
Hornets: Bismack Biyombo missed his 11th straight game with a bruised right knee. … Coach Steve Clifford, talking before the game about the challenge Lance Stephenson has had adjusting to Charlotte, said expectations were unrealistic before the season. “His attitude has been fine,” Clifford said. “He hasn’t been kicked out of practice, or any of that.”

Celtics: Center Kelly Olynyk, who has missed the last 16 games with a sprained right ankle, will return to practice Saturday. He has not been ruled out of Sunday’s game. … Smart scored in double figures seven times in February. He had done so eight times previously this season.

UP NEXT
Hornets: at Orlando on Sunday.
Celtics: host Golden State on Sunday.