Davis, Hornets edge Celtics
New Orleans, LA – Anthony Davis tipped in an Eric Gordon miss with 0.3 seconds left, lifting the New Orleans Hornets to an 87-86 come-from- behind victory over the visiting Boston Celtics.
Ryan Anderson scored 14 of his team-high 21 points in the second half to lead the Hornets back from a 13-point deficit early in the third quarter and enable New Orleans to halt a four-game losing streak. Gordon added 18 points in the triumph, with Greivis Vasquez tallying 13 along with seven rebounds and six assists.
"This was a real big win for us," said Davis. "We've kind of struggled in these close games and to win this one is a real boost of confidence for the whole team.
Returning from a two-game absence caused by a thigh injury and a bout with the flu, Kevin Garnett put up 20 points in 29 minutes for Boston. Paul Pierce dropped in a game-high 28, though it wasn't enough for the Celtics to be dealt a second consecutive narrow defeat.
"We have to come out with better focus than we had tonight," said Pierce. "We didn't take advantage of the opportunity we had tonight and that's not acceptable."
Jeff Green, who racked up a career-best 43 points in Boston's 105-103 loss to Miami on Monday, finished with 13.
New Orleans trailed 60-47 after Pierce knocked down a 3-pointer 1:40 into the second half, but sprung to life via a 9-0 run before pulling even later in the third quarter. The Celtics shot just 27.8 percent for the period and were outscored by a 22-12 count over that span, allowing the Hornets to knot the score at 67-67 heading into the fourth.
The Hornets dominated the beginning portion of the final stanza, with Anderson netting six points and Brian Roberts five during an 11-2 push that put New Orleans on top 78-69 at the midway stage. Boston reeled off 10 straight points, however, and went back in front on two Pierce free throws with 4:06 to go.
A Pierce three followed by Brandon Bass' tip-in staked Boston to an 86-81 edge with under two minutes remaining, but the Celtics didn't score the rest of the way. Gordon hit a jumper on the ensuing trip and Anderson was fouled on a 3- point try with 35.5 seconds showing, making two of the bonus shots to cut the lead to one.
Anderson then grabbed the rebound of Pierce's errant shot, with the Hornets calling timeout with 16.7 seconds on the clock. Gordon drove the lane and attempted a runner as time ran down, with Davis in position to tap in the miss and put the Hornets ahead.
The Celtics weren't able to get off a shot before the final buzzer sounded.
Green picked up right where he left off on Monday, dropping in 11 first- quarter points on 4-of-4 shooting to help stake Boston to a comfortable early lead. Five of that total came during a 9-0 spurt that put the Celtics ahead by a 17-7 count seven minutes into the contest, and Boston shot a scorching 68.4 percent from the field in the opening frame to grab a 31-22 advantage by period's end.
Garnett heated up in the second quarter, hitting on 4-of-5 attempts in a 10- point effort that enabled the Celtics to stay in front at the break.
New Orleans cut the deficit to two with a 7-0 sequence during the initial stages of the stanza, but Boston countered with an 11-1 run capped by a Garnett jumper to build a 48-36 cushion with under five minutes to go in the half. The Celtics went into the intermission owning a 55-45 lead.
The Hornets now have won five of their last six matchups with the Celtics, including a 90-78 decision in Boston on Jan. 16 ... Gordon was back in action after sitting out Monday's 93-72 loss to Golden State to rest his surgically repaired knee ... The Celtics signed forward D.J. White, whose second 10-day contract was due to expire, to a multi-year deal before the game ... Boston scored 26 points off 20 New Orleans turnovers, but shot just 32.4 percent from the field in the second half.