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Apr 12, 2024 10:06 pm

Celtics sit top six players, still blow out Hornets

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Payton Pritchard scored a career-high 31 points and had 11 assists to help the Boston Celtics end a two-game losing streak with a 131-98 rout of the visiting Charlotte Hornets on Friday.

Neither team was near full strength.

Boston (63-18) was without the top six players in its rotation, as Jaylen Brown (hand), Jayson Tatum (knee), Jrue Holiday (knee), Al Horford (toe), Kristaps Porzingis (hamstring) and Derrick White (ankle) were downgraded from questionable to out.

Nick Richards (foot) and Grant Williams (ankle) didn’t play for the Hornets, who received 19 points and eight assists from Tre Mann plus 15 points from Nick Smith Jr.

Pritchard made 14 of his 22 field-goal attempts. He didn’t play in the fourth quarter.

Luke Kornet added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, who are locked into the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and will have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. Boston will wrap up the regular season Sunday with a home game against the Washington Wizards.

Charlotte (20-61) will end its season on Sunday at Cleveland.

Sam Hauser (16), Neemias Queta (career-high 16) and Jaden Springer (season-high 11) were the other Celtics who scored in double figures.

Charlotte committed 20 turnovers and was outrebounded 53-33. Boston had a 32-2 advantage in points off turnovers.

The Celtics led 30-24 after the first quarter and pulled away in the second. Boston led by three early in the quarter, but went on a 31-6 run and had a 69-41 lead after a Hauser 3-pointer with 34.1 seconds remaining in the half.

Charlotte committed a total of 12 turnovers in the first two quarters and trailed 69-43 at the break.

Pritchard had 23 points and nine assists in the opening half.

The Hornets outscored the Celtics 33-25 in the third, but Boston had a comfortable 94-76 lead entering the fourth. Charlotte never drew closer than 18 points in the final quarter.

–Field Level Media

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