Jeremy Lin had 25 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals and a block as the Charlotte Hornets routed the Boston Celtics 109-90 Monday in a crucial Eastern Conference match-up that could alter the eventual playoff seedings.
Prior to the game, the Hornets held on the No. 6 seed while the Celtics had the No. 4 seed. However, the result meant that Celtics slipped to the fifth seed with Miami Heat rising to the fourth seed. With Miami still scheduled to play another games, there are chances that they rise to the third seed. |Final Box Score| |Watch: Jeremy Lin’s Post-Game Interview|
Lin was ably supported by Kemba Walker (18 points), Al Jefferson and Marvin Williams (16 points apiece) as Hornets scored a season-high 39 points in the second quarter. Going into the halftime break, Charlotte had accumulated enough momentum to see them last a gritty Celtics squad.
Boston have been nearly unbeatable home in recent months. This defeat, only their third at home over the last 21 games, could prove to be pivotal come playoff time. Lin had plenty of supporters in Boston, with a number Asian-American fans holding signs and cheering his every move.
For Boston, Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley led Boston with 17 points apiece. It was Boston’s third home loss in their past 21 games, highlighting how great a win it was for Charlotte.
Jeremy Lin and the art of defense…
Jeremy Lin has turned into an elite on-the-ball defender this season. Besides keeping Marcus Smart to 1/8 from the field, he matched up really well with Evan Turner, Thomas and Bradley at different junctures of the game.
In the second quarter, he triggered two turnovers from Turner with a bunch of hesky plays. With 0:40 left in the half, he blocked Turner’s 2-foot layup, giving Charlotte a huge boost. In the final quarter, Lin was once again all over Evan Turner, taking advantage of some bad passes. This was arguably Lin’s best defensive performance all season.
Lin and the Hornets led the Celtics 92-74 going into the final quarter. This propelled Celtics coach Brad Stevens to push his starters to the brink, who responded well with a late run but couldn’t manage to trim the deficit to single digits.
Jeremy Lin and the Charlotte Hornets will next Orlando Magic to finish out their successful regular season campaign. Meanwhile, Celtics will host Miami Heat in another match with severe playoff implications. By the end of Wednesday, the playoff seeds could look a lot more different.