Considering everything that's been going on away from the court lately, the Charlotte Hornets found that playing a game Tuesday night was the perfect escape.
"We deserved this," a beaming Paul Silas said after the Hornets made him a winner in his Charlotte coaching debut with a 105-87 victory over the Boston Celtics.
J.R. Reid had 26 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Hornets, who had seven players score in double figures. Eldridge Recasner added 15 points and free-agent rookie Brad Miller came off the bench to score a season-high 12 -- all in the final 19 minutes -- as the Hornets recorded their largest margin of victory this season.
"We never let up. We wanted to get this one for Paul," Reid said. "It was just a great all-around effort."
Silas, appointed the team's interim head coach one day earlier following the resignation of Dave Cowens, was making his first appearance as an NBA head coach in nearly 16 years. By chance, his Charlotte debut came against the team with which he spent much of his 16-year playing career, helping the Celtics to NBA titles in 1974 and 1976.
Silas' debut also came with the Hornets trying to cope with ownership questions, trade reports, injury problems and falling attendance.
"I'm elated that it worked out tonight, but of course, let's be realistic," Silas said. "The adrenalin was flowing and so forth, and that's not going to be flowing every night. But the guys really just gave their all for me tonight."
Derrick Coleman, Charlotte's leading scorer and rebounder, sat out his second straight game to rest a sprained right foot. He was joined on the bench by starting wing guard Bobby Phills, who was diagnosed earlier in the day with a possible stress fracture in his left leg.
Boston's Paul Pierce, leading all NBA rookies in scoring and steals, rolled his right ankle late in the first quarter. X-rays were negative, but he did not return.
Antoine Walker had a season-high 32 points for the Celtics, who lost for the fourth time in five games.
"Chemistry-wise, it's just not there for some reason," Walker said. "I don't understand what's going wrong. I think we've got the right attitude. I think everybody wants to win, but I think we get down a little bit when the shots don't fall."
Charlotte's Chuck Person wasn't the least bit impressed with Walker's game, which included repeatedly barking instructions to his teammates in between his 24 shots.
"That was a bad 32," Person said. "I don't think he got them within the confines of what they do. He was working plays, going one-on-one, screaming at his players. That's not good basketball. I don't care. First time I ever really felt bad about a player, but, I mean, you've got to share."
Charlotte shot 50 percent and defeated the Celtics for the third consecutive game and the seventh in eight meetings.
Miller scored eight points in the third quarter, when the Hornets held Boston to 38 percent shooting and took control by closing the period with a 20-12 run.
Miller added two more points as Charlotte opened the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run, extending its lead to 82-65 with 9:32 remaining.
After the Hornets stretched it to 20 just before the midway point of the quarter, Boston got no closer than 15.
Notes: The victory was the third in a row at home for the Hornets...The Charlotte Coliseum crowd was announced at 18,342, but it appeared to be closer to 12,000...The Hornets are 11-1 when they hold Boston to less than 100 points...The Celtics have lost five consecutive games in Charlotte. Their last road victory against the Hornets came in November 1995.
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