Boston Holds Back Hornets


The Boston Celtics have begun the season with three straight wins for the first time in the Rick Pitino era. And Adrian Griffin is one of the main reasons why.

Griffin, signed during the offseason after playing his first three years in the CBA, sparked Boston with a steal in the closing seconds of the Celtics 103-100 victory over Charlotte Friday night.

Boston improved to 3-0 for the first time since 1990-91 despite blowing a 20-point second-half lead.

With the Celtics clinging to a 101-100 lead in the final seconds, Griffin tipped the ball away from Eddie Jones to Kenny Anderson. Anderson was fouled and hit two free throws with 6.5 seconds left.

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  • "I never heard of him before," Jones said of Griffin. "But he's a great role player and that's what they need. He plays great defense and can make the extra pass on offense."

    Griffin finished with eight points, a team-high 10 rebounds, six assists and five steals.

    "I wasn't surprised they were going to him," Griffin said. "He's a great one-on-one player. He's their go-to guy. I got a hand on the ball and disrupted his timing."

    Anderson finished with 24 points and Tony Battie added 18 off the bench for Boston, which last opened a season 4-0 in 1987 when it started with six consecutive wins. The Celtics play at Indiana Saturday night.

    "He does all the little things," Celtics coach Rick Pitino said of Griffin. "Adrian has guarded both (Toronto's) Vince Carter and Eddie Jones two guys we had to stop."

    David Wesley paced the Hornets with 17 points and seven assists. Bobby Phills added 15 points and rookie Eddie Robinson had 14.

    "Griffin is solid on both ends of the court," Charlotte's Derrick Coleman said. "It's only three games into the season, but you like to get off to a good start and they are doing that."

    Trailing 92-78 with 6 1/2 minutes to play, Charlotte went on a 21-7 run, tying the game on Elden Campbell's breakaway jam with 1:53 to play.

    The Hornets sandwiched two misses around Antoine Walker's airball before Anderson hit two free throws with 54 seconds to play.

    Anthony Mason hit the second of two free throws to cut it 101-100 and Walker missed a 3-pointer with just under 24 seconds left before Griffin's play.

    Campbell's desperation 3-point attempt missed everything and Griffin grabbed the rebound just before the horn sounded.

    The Hornets, who opened the season 2-0 for the first time in their 11-year history, were victimized by Boston's quick starts in each half.

    The Celtics, who never trailed, scored the game's first eight points and pulled to a 37-31 lead after the first quarter.

    In the second half, the Celtics started with a 11-0 run to open their largest lead of the game (69-49) before Charlotte came back late in the final quarter.

    Notes

  • The Celtics entered the game leading the league in 3-point field goals made (15) and percentage (51.7).
  • It marked the first time since April 1998 that Boston has scored over 100 points in three straight games.
  • Hornets coach Paul Silas is one of five former Celtics players coaching in the NBA. He was a member of the 1974 and '76 championship clubs.
  • Dana Barros was back with Boston after missing the first two games due to the death of his grandmother.

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