NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 28: Jarrett Jack #2 of the New Orleans Hornets shoots the ball over Sasha Pavlovic #11 of the Boston Celtics at New Orleans Arena on December 28, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Hornets 97, Celtics 78: Jarrett Jack, New Orleans Cruises Past Winless Boston

Jarrett Jack scored 21 points and had eight assists and four rebounds in his return to action as the New Orleans Hornets dismantled the Boston Celtics, 97-78, on Wednesday night in New Orleans. Boston is 0-3 for the first time since '06-'07.

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Celtics Overtime: Boston Regresses In Big Loss To New Orleans

Celtics Overtime is a postgame feature providing extra news, notes and analysis from each game. On Wednesday, the Boston Celtics were defeated by the New Orleans Hornets, 97-78.

Finally, the Boston Celtics were going to get back on track. After two tough losses to the New York Knicks and Miami Heat to open the season, the C's had a cupcake game against a rebuilding New Orleans Hornets team. To top it all off, the Hornets were without their star player in Eric Gordon. What could possibly go wrong? As it turns out, a lot.

Boston opened the game on a 9-2 run and appeared to be on the verge of turning the page on their early season struggles. Then, the sloppy play and porous defense returned, and the Hornets had their way for the rest of the game.

New Orleans used a 9-2 run to close out the first quarter with a 24-18 lead and outscored the C's 24-21 in the second quarter to build a 48-39 lead at halftime. Both teams played relatively evenly in the third quarter, with each squad scoring 24 points. The Hornets had a 25-15 scoring advantage in the fourth quarter to secure their second win of the season.

Like always, there were some positives, but plenty of negatives. Positives first, though.

Greg Stiemsma Proves His Worth Defensively

It's never good when you hear the television crew say that Greg Stiemsma was the Celtics' only bright spot of the night. That usually means that it was a pretty bad night, and it was. However, Stiemsma showed to the world that he means business. The reigning NBDL Defensive Player of the Year had a game-high (and a Celtics season high) six blocks and four rebounds in 20 minutes. Stiemsma is not a viable threat on offense -- he had two points on Wednesday -- but he is looking like an NBA defender. That's a good thing for a Celtics team that has struggled mightily on defense this season. Stiemsma will only be active in the case of an injury, such as the current injury to Chris Wilcox. For now, though, the Stiemroller is a welcome addition.

Turnovers Decreased, But So Did Offense

The good news? Turnovers were down on Wednesday, with the Celtics coughing the ball up just 12 times. Not perfect, but a lot better than before. Boston had 42 turnovers in their first two games -- including 24 in the loss to the Miami Heat. However, the Celtics also saw a decrease in their offensive output. Boston had scored 104 points and 107 points respectively in its first two games but was held to 78 points by the Hornets. The C's made 29-of-78 shots to shoot a mediocre 37.2 percent. The thought through the first two games was that it was mostly the defense that was to blame. After Wednesday's performance, it appears that both are problematic.

Rajon Rondo's Limited Offense A Problem

It's hard to believe, but the Celtics have reached a point where they need offense from Rajon Rondo. Through the first two games, they got it. Rondo had 31 points against the Knicks and 22 against the Heat, all while he averaged 12.5 assists. Wednesday, the Celtics didn't get neither points nor assists -- Rondo had 13 points and six dimes. With Paul Pierce out, it is more important than ever that Rondo produced on offense. Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett were good scorers in their day, but the two simply can't be relied on to carry the scoring load anymore. Rondo needs to help.

Bottom Line: Fans were willing to accept the first two losses, mainly because the Celtics made both games interesting in the end. This loss, however, is unacceptable. The C's were facing an inferior opponent that was missing their best player, and they still managed to lose by 19 points. The offense was sub par and the defense was downright bad. It's hard to believe, but the Celtics actually regressed. That's very troubling, and there's no way around it.

Next Up: Boston will look to end its nightmare start when it hosts the lowly Detroit Pistons in the home opener on Friday night at TD Garden. Will the Celtics finally be able to break into the win column? We can only hope so.


Final - 12.28.2011 1 2 3 4 Total
Boston Celtics 18 21 24 15 78
New Orleans Hornets 24 24 24 25 97

Complete Coverage >


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Celtics Vs. Hornets Final Score: New Orleans Flattens Boston, 97-78

Jarrett Jack put on a show in his return to action, scoring 21 points on 8-of-17 shooting and totaling eight assists and four rebounds as the new-look New Orleans Hornets cruised past the Boston Celtics, 97-78, on Wednesday night at New Orleans Arena.

Boston is off to an 0-3 start, the worst mark through three games of the Big Three Era. The Celtics made 29-of-77 field goals to shoot 37.7 percent and finished with 37 rebounds, 16 assists, five steals and 12 turnovers in the loss. New Orleans shot 45.6 percent on 36-of-79 shooting and collected 48 rebounds, 16 assists, seven steals and 10 turnovers.

Ray Allen led the Celtics with 15 points and also had three assists. Rajon Rondo scored 13 points and had six assists, Brandon Bass scored 11 points off the bench and Keyon Dooling was once again effective, scoring 10 points. Kevin Garnett finished with eight points and seven rebounds while rookie Greg Stiemsma had a terrific night with two points, six blocks and four rebounds for Boston.

New Orleans (2-0) had five players reach double-digit scoring, led by Jack. Carl Landry added 20 points and 11 rebounds, Emeka Okafor and Marco Belinelli each scored 13 points and Chris Kaman added 12 points and nine rebounds.

Boston hosts the Detroit Pistons in search of its first win in the home opener on Friday.



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Celtics Vs. Hornets Score Update: Boston Trails 48-39 At Halftime

Rajon Rondo made a buzzer-beating layup to cap off a 9-2 run to close out the first half, but the Boston Celtics still trail the New Orleans Hornets, 48-39, after 24 minutes of basketball at New Orleans Arena.

Rondo, who has a team-high eight points, made 3-of-5 field goals in the half for Boston, which shot a lackluster 33.3 percent from the floor on 15-of-45 shooting. Ray Allen buried two three pointers for six points and Marquis Daniels had six points. The Celtics had five turnovers but totaled eight blocks, eight assists and three swipes.

Carl Landry led all scorers with 10 points and Jarrett Jack finished with half with eight points in his return to action for New Orleans, which shot at a 41.5 percent clip from the floor on 17-of-41 shooting. Marco Belinell had seven points and both Emeka Okafor and Chris Kaman had six points for the Hornets.



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Celtics Vs. Hornets Score Update: Boston Trails, 24-18, After First

Marco Belinelli scored seven points and Jarrett Jack added seven points in his return to action as the New Orleans Hornets took a 24-18 lead over the Boston Celtics after one quarter at New Orleans Arena.

Boston opened the game on a 9-2 run courtesy of a Ray Allen three, a Jermaine O'Neal dunk and two baskets from Sasha Pavlovic. New Orleans answered with an 8-0 run via four points from Belinelli, a Chris kaman 14-foot jumper and a Jarrett Jack steal and layup to take a 10-9 lead with 5:58 to go in the quarter. The Hornets closed the quarter out on an 11-2 run to take a lead into the second quarter.

Greg Stiemsma, playing in place of an injured Chris Wilcox, made his presence felt midway through the quarter. In -- minutes, Stiemsma had two blocks and took a charge.

Pavlovic leads the Celtics with four points. Two Celtics players have three points.

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Celtics Vs. Hornets: Game Time, TV/Radio Schedule, Location And More

Ray Allen and the Boston Celtics look to notch their first win of the lockout-shortened season when they face the new-look New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night at New Orleans Arena.

Event: Boston Celtics (0-2) vs. New Orleans Hornets (1-0) - NBA Regular Season, Game 3.

Date/Time: December 28, 2011 - 8:00 p.m. EDT.

Location: New Orleans Arena (Capacity: 19,000), New Orleans, LA.

Broadcast Info: Wednesday night's game between the Celtics and Hornets will be televised regionally on Comcast SportsNet New England, with Mike Gorman, Tommy Heinsohn and Greg Dickerson calling the action courtside. Additionally, the game will also be broadcast nationally on NBA TV. The game can also be heard on the radio on the WEEI Sports Radio Network, with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell on the call.

Odds: Boston is a three-point favorite over New Orleans on Wednesday night.

Celtics Roster 2011-12: Ray Allen, Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley, Marquis Daniels, Keyon Dooling, Kevin Garnett, JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore, Jermaine O'Neal, Sasha Pavlovic, Mickael Pietrus, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Greg Stiemsma, Chris Wilcox. Head Coach: Doc Rivers.

Hornets Roster 2011-12: Al-Farouq Aminu, Trevor Ariza, Gustavo Ayon, Marco Belinelli, Eric Gordon, Jarrett Jack, Carldell Johnson, Trey Johnson, Chris Kaman, Carl Landry, Emeka Okafor, Jason Smith, DaJuan Summers, Lance Thomas, Greivis Vasquez. Head Coach: Monty Williams.

Boston And New Orleans In 2010-11: The Celtics and Hornets met twice last season, with each team winning on the other team's home court. Boston was edged 83-81 in the first meeting in December at TD Garden behind a 20-point, 11-assist performance from ex-Hornet Chris Paul. The C's responded with an 89-85 win in New Orleans in March.

Last Time Out: Boston was defeated by Miami, 115-107, on Tuesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. Ray Allen led all scorers with 28 points and Rajon Rondo added 22 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds for the Celtics, who shot 51.4 percent in defeat. Keyon Dooling scored 18 points off the bench and Brandon Bass added 13 points and five boards. Kevin Garnett finished with 12 points and five rebounds and Marquis Daniels scored nine points for Boston.

New Orleans was triumphant against the Phoenix Suns, 85-84, in the season opener on Monday. Eric Gordon scored 20 points to lead the team in his first game with the Hornets, who had six players score in double digits.Carl Landry scored 14 points, Trevor Ariza added 13 points and Marco Belinelli, Chris Kaman and Greivis Vasquez all had 10 points.

Statistical Leaders: Rajon Rondo is the Celtics' leading scorer (26.5 PPG) through two games and leads the team in assists (12.5 APG) and steals (2.5 SPG). Brandon Bass is the team's rebounding leader (8.0 RPG) while Kevin Garnett averages a team-best 2.5 blocks per game.

Eric Gordon is the Clippers' leading scorer, averaging 20 points, and also averages a team-high 3.0 assists. Emeka Okafor leads the team in rebounding (9.0 RPG) and blocks (2.0 BPG) and Greivis Vasquez averages 3.0 steals.

Storyline: Doc Rivers and the Celtics continue to look for answers after two losses to start the season, both of which featured poor starts but ended with strong play. The Celtics lost by two points to the New York Knicks, 106-104, on Christmas Day before falling to the Miami Heat, 115-107, on Tuesday night. Clearly, offense has not been the problem.

What has been problematic for Boston is the team's defense and high amount of turnovers. The Celtics have given up an average of 110.5 points in their first two games while turning the ball over 42 times in 96 minutes (18 times against New York and 24 times against Miami).

Some of the C's inconsistencies can be blamed on the short amount of preparation time they had for the season due to the NBA Lockout, but every team is going through the same issues. Boston's early struggles also have to do with the fact that the team is without its leading scorer of the past decade, Paul Pierce, who is still sidelined with a bruised right heel and may return for the team's home opener against the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

Despite the numerous problems in Boston, there is even more uncertainty in New Orleans. The Hornets dealt away star point guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for a hearty helping of talent, including Eric Gordon and Chris Kaman. Gordon certainly isn't on Paul's level in terms of play, but he is a rising young star who should be a mainstay in the league for years to come. Don't expect New Orleans to win a title anytime soon, but they won't be pushovers, either.

As for Wednesday night's game, the Hornets have the all-important extra night of rest and has played one less game than Boston has. Meanwhile, we all know that the Celtics -- with their aging core of the Big Three and other veterans -- have been known to struggle mightily in the second game of back-to-back contests. The C's are three-point favorites, so don't expect this game to be a blowout in either direction.

Players To Watch: With the continual absence of Paul Pierce, the scoring of Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett takes on an even bigger role. If those two can score, the Celtics will usually have a shot at winning any game they play in. Rajon Rondo's offensive growth has also been encouraging, and if he can reach the 20-point mark, it will be a definite plus for Boston. For the Clippers, look for Eric Gordon to carry the scoring load and Emeka Okafor to have a presence inside.

Prediction: Even with the Celtics playing on the second night of a back-to-back, they know how important it is to cut their mini two-game slide off before it gets any worse. Expect a determined Celtics team to bring home their first win of the 2011-12 season. Final Score: Celtics 98, Hornets 92.



For more Boston Celtics coverage, visit our team page and blog, CelticsBlog.

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Celtics Vs. Hornets: Ray Allen, Boston Take On New Look New Orleans

Ray Allen and the struggling Boston Celtics (0-2) take on the new look New Orleans Hornets (1-0) in their season-opening road trip finale at 8:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday night at New Orleans Arena (TV/Radio: CSNNE/WEEI).

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