The Charlotte Hornets had their best shooting performance of the season Tuesday night. But the Boston Celtics were even better.
"It's hardly ever you see a whole team get in a zone, but that team was in a zone," Charlotte's Eddie Jones said after the Celtics shot 69 percent in the first half and finished at 59 percent in a 109-99 victory over the Hornets.
Kenny Anderson scored 13 of his 22 points in the first half and Paul Pierce had 18 of his 19 before the break, helping the Celtics snap Charlotte's eight-game home winning streak.
"What a big win for us," said Antoine Walker, who added 15 points, six rebounds and five assists. "We were playing unselfish. We had seven guys score in double figures. We're learning game by game. We're starting to make the right decisions."
The Celtics' accuracy helped them overcome Charlotte's 58-percent shooting, and they built their lead as high as 18 on the way to winning for just the second time in 11 road games. Boston's best shooting game of the year made the Celtics the first team to shoot better than 50 percent against Charlotte this season.
"They were hitting everything, even when we had a hand in their face," said Charlotte coach Paul Silas, whose team defeated the Celtics by 18 points earlier this month. "They came in with a good game plan and executed it well. They're playing a lot better than they were."
The Hornets, using almost exclusively reserves in the fourth quarter, cut their deficit to 98-94 on a free throw by Ricky Davis with 2:08 remaining. But the Hornets turned it over on their next three possessions, clearing the way for Boston to push its lead back to double digits and snap a five-game losing skid in Charlotte dating to November 1995.
"I thought our second team played great," Silas said. "We had a big hill to climb in the forth quarter and we just couldn't make it."
Walker had to leave the game briefly with just under three minutes left after he was elbowed by Charlotte's Brad Miller just above the right eye, opening a gash. Trainers closed the wound with a large patch and replaced Walker's blood-stained jersey before sending him back in for the final two minutes.
"I felt bad," Boston coach Rick Pitino said. "I didn't know what happened on the play, and I'm yelling, `Get back, get back,' and he's bleeding profusely. I didn't even know he got hit. He played a heck of a game."
The Hornets got 17 points and seven rebounds from Elden Campbell. Jones was held to seven points, the first time he has failed to reach double figures in 11 games since he and Campbell joined the Hornets in a trade with the Lakers earlier this month.
Boston, which six days earlier was held to 68 points in a loss at home to Minnesota, had 63 by halftime against the Hornets. The Celtics hit 25 of their 36 field-goal attempts in the half, including 7-of-9 by Pierce and 6-of-8 by Anderson.
The Celtics cooled off to 48 percent shooting in the third quarter, but they held Charlotte to 43 percent and increased their lead to 16 before the Hornets rallied.
Notes: Charlotte guard Bobby Phills sat out his second consecutive game to rest a pulled groin. He is expected to miss at least three more games. ... The Celtics had been held to less than 100 points in 12 of 13 games, with the lone exception being when they scored 118 against the Clippers. Boston shot 56.5 percent that night, its previous season-high. ... The loss was Charlotte's first at home since Feb. 24.
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