When a team takes roughly twice as many free throws as its opponent, and is playing at home, that home team should generally win.
Instead, the Charlotte Hornets suffered their first loss of the season at the 3-point line, both offensively and defensively. The difference in a 104-98 Boston Celtics victory is the Celtics made a ton of 3-pointers and the Hornets made few of theirs.
The Hornets dropped to 2-1, despite taking 33 free throws to the Celtics’ 17.
The Hornets were coming off a road victory Friday in Miami and didn’t get back to Charlotte until around 3 a.m. The Celtics had an off night Friday in Charlotte, so they were well rested. The home crowd at Spectrum Center wasn’t enough to overcome that.
Kemba Walker led the Hornets in scoring with 29. Avery Bradley was top scorer for the Celtics with 30.
Three who mattered
Avery Bradley: The Celtics guard made a career-high eight 3-pointers.
Kemba Walker: He attacked the basket on a night when the Hornets didn’t generate much offense.
Marvin Williams: He played smart, persistent defense on Al Horford throughout this game.
▪ The Hornets played without center Roy Hibbert (right knee soreness), who played only five minutes versus the Miami Heat Friday night. Hibbert said post-game he “tweaked” that knee in the season-opener in Milwaukee, and did not expect the injury to be serious.
▪ With Hibbert out, Cody Zeller got his first start of the season at center. Zeller was surprisingly effective off the bench in the first two games, considering he missed all seven preseason exhibitions with a deep bruise in his right knee.
▪ The Hornets got back Frank Kaminsky after he missed the first two games with a right foot strain. Coach Steve Clifford planned to use Hibbert at both power forward and center, since the Celtics sometimes downsize their lineup.
▪ An indication of how well the Hornets have played defense this season: They are top-five in opponent scoring, field-goal percentage and 3-point percentage.
▪ One way they aren’t quite as good as past seasons under Clifford -- they are 10th in defensive rebounding percentage. While that’s good, they have typically been top-3 in that statistic.
▪ The Hornets did a pregame video of players urging unity and peace in Charlotte following recent protests.
▪ Jeremy Lamb suffered a strained hamstring in the first half and did not return.
▪ Celtics forward Amir Johnson was called for a flagrant foul, based on a shot to the head of Cody Zeller.
C OFFENSE: The 3-point shooting started out 1-of-10 and didn’t get much better.
B DEFENSE: They gave up too many open 3-pointers and the Celtics kept making them.
B COACHING: Good call by Steve Clifford, using Williams as the primary defender on Horford.
Rick Bonnell: 704-358-5129, @rick_bonnell