CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Avery Bradley had 31 points on a career-high eight 3-pointers, and the Boston Celtics defeated the Charlotte Hornets 104-98 Saturday night.
Bradley was 8 of 11 from beyond the arc and had 11 rebounds as the Celtics shot 75 percent from the field in the fourth quarter.
Isaiah Thomas had 24 points and seven assists and Al Horford added 14 points for the Celtics, who trailed by one entering the fourth quarter.
Boston finished 15 of 31 from 3-point range, while the Hornets were just 9 of 32.
Kemba Walker led the Hornets in their home opener with 29 points, while Frank Kaminsky had 11 points and four rebounds in his first regular season action.
The Hornets spent most of the game trying to claw even with the Celtics after falling behind early. They finally took the lead on a 7-foot jumper by Nicolas Batum on the final possession of the third quarter.
But the lead was short-lived as Bradley started to heat up in the fourth quarter and the Celtics built a 93-79 lead.
The Celtics led 44-41 at halftime after outshooting the Hornets from beyond the arc. Boston was 8 of 18, while Charlotte was 2 of 15.
Celtics: G Marcus Smart is making progress from his left ankle sprain, but Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he’s not sure if Smart will play Wednesday vs. Chicago. “I anticipate that he’ll at least go through some of Monday’s practice, but I don’t know if he’ll be live,” Stevens said. … Amir Johnson received a flagrant 1 foul when he elbowed Cody Zeller in the head on a post-up move.
Hornets: Owner Michael Jordan took in the team’s home opener from the end of the bench. … C Roy Hibbert, who has had a strong start to the season, missed the game with soreness in his right knee. … G Jeremy Lamb left the game in the second quarter with a strained left hamstring and did not return. … The Hornets took 22 free throws in the first half; Boston just two.
Celtics: Host Chicago on Wednesday before heading on the road to face LeBron James and Cavaliers on Thursday.
Hornets: Host Philadelphia on Wednesday, part of five home games during a six-game stretch.
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