Avery Bradley said a recent game in Charlotte showed the Boston Celtics are a get-up-and-go team capable of gutting it out.
The Celtics should have fresher legs for their second game in Charlotte in 12 days as they go for a fourth consecutive victory over the Hornets on Wednesday night.
Bradley scored 23 points and Isaiah Thomas had 21 with 13 assists to lead the Celtics to a 98-93 win over the Hornets on Dec. 12. It came one night after the Celtics fell in double overtime to then-unbeaten Golden State in Boston.
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The quick turnaround after a grueling loss could have been an excuse for the Celtics to knuckle under against Charlotte, but Bradley said that's not their style.
“It's our determination to come out every single night and play hard for each other,” the guard said. “Mentally some guys could say we played a double-overtime game and we're tired and we're hurting, but we came out tonight and no matter what we wanted to get the win and that shows a lot about the team.”
The Hornets were also playing the second night of a back-to-back after beating Memphis 123-99 on the road.
“They played with more energy than us,” Charlotte's Nicolas Batum said. “They should be more tired than us. We played a different game than them (the previous night). They had double overtime but they had more energy and they came out to beat us.”
The Celtics (15-13) failed to build on the win, dropping their next three games before snapping the losing streak with Monday's 113-99 victory over Minnesota. Kelly Olynyk scored 19 points in his first start of the season, Jae Crowder had 18 with 10 rebounds and the Celtics made 12 of their 25 3-point attempts, including six of their first seven.
Seven-footer Olynyk was 3 for 3 from behind the arc as the Celtics improved to 13-2 when leading entering the fourth quarter. They're 7-3 when making more than 10 3-pointers.
“Three-point shooting is probably the next most contagious thing to the flu,” Olynyk joked. “When one person knocks them down, they usually come in waves, so it's good to get people going that way.”
With Amir Johnson (plantar fasciitis) and Jared Sullinger (back spasms) sidelined, Tyler Zeller scored a season-high 14 points in 17 minutes off the bench before fouling out. David Lee got his first start since Nov. 1 and had one of his most productive games with 13 points and eight rebounds.
It's unclear if Johnson or Sullinger will return Wednesday. Marcus Smart, out since Nov. 20 with a knee problem, traveled to Charlotte but will not play.
The Hornets (15-12) no longer lead the Southeast Division after dropping four of five games dating to the Boston loss. But they play five of their next six at home, where they are 11-4.
They used a 13-0 run to overcome a 13-point deficit to Houston in the fourth quarter Monday night, taking a lead with under two minutes remaining. But James Harden scored six of his game-high 36 points after that to lead the Rockets to a 102-95 win.
Kemba Walker scored a team-high 14 points but was 3 of 10 from the field for the Hornets, who shot a season-worst 34.9 percent – 12 for 41 from 3-point range. They were 11 for 35 shooting 3s against the Celtics.
“We fought hard,” coach Steve Clifford said Monday. “I thought their defense was really good. We struggled to consistently get good shots.”
Hornets center Al Jefferson is completing a five-game suspension for violating the NBA's drug policy. He is eligible to return Saturday against Memphis.
Bradley has keyed Boston's three-game win streak over the Hornets, averaging 24.0 points and hitting 10 of 18 from 3-point range, but he's scored 7.3 per game on 30.0 percent shooting in his last three games.