Celtics credit fans with assist after comeback victory




 

BOSTON - The biggest assist of the night doesn't appear anywhere on the final stat sheet in Boston's Friday night matchup against Charlotte.

It came from the Celtics fans who provided a much-needed lift in the fourth quarter that helped propel Boston to a 90-87 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.

Trailing for every minute of the first three quarters of play, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens had a message for his team that in hindsight, prepared them for the emotional lift they were on the cusp of receiving from their fans.

Said Stevens: "At the start of the fourth (quarter), I actually said, 'hey, most of you haven't been here before in a game like this. If you get some stops, string a few buckets together, this place is gonna get fun.'"

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Did. It. Ever.

Boston opened the fourth with a 10-1 run that made it a one-possession game, the kind of surge that brought the Green and White-clad crowd to its feet.

With the game up in the air, the Celtics continued to feed off the energy of the fans who became louder and maybe more important, disruptive to the Hornets as they turned the ball over six times in the fourth quarter after having turned it over just seven times total through the first three quarters of play.

Timely shot-making combined with better defense was all Celtics fans needed to get fired up for a team that has now won 11 in a row which is the longest current winning streak in the NBA this season.

Among the Boston players giving the fans something to cheer about in the fourth quarter was Shane Larkin, who finished with a season-high 16 points off the bench.

"There's no funner place to play than in Boston in comeback games," he said. "We went out there. Crowd got behind us. We pulled out a victory."

Marcus Morris, who arrived via trade during the offseason from Detroit, is well-versed on how engaged Celtics fans can be for the home team during a late-game rally.

"This is a tough place to play once you get the crowd into it like that," Morris said. "They (fans) did a great job. They helped us win that game."

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