Celtics forward Jayson Tatum caught fire against the Hornets, scoring a career-high 39 points in Boston's 119-93 win over Charlotte.
Tatum added a season-high 12 rebounds, two assists and three blocks, going 15-of-29 from the field and 4-of-9 from the three-point line to lead the Celtics to their third-straight win.
The 21-year-old's previous career-high of 34 points came last season in January against the Brooklyn Nets.
Charlotte took an early lead behind 17 first-quarter points from Devonte' Graham on 5-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc, before the Celtics hit back to take a 59-56 lead at half-time.
Devonte' Graham knocks down 5 3⃣-pointers in the 1Q! #AllFly- NBA (@NBA) December 22, 2019
📲💻: https://t.co/3bTQPOmwYk pic.twitter.com/WZQTwumVJ3
Kemba Walker steadied the ship in the third, scoring eight points in the period, including a pair of threes to help Boston take an 84-77 lead, while Tatum's continued aggression getting to the rim put the Hornets defence under pressure.
Tatum for ✌️+1 pic.twitter.com/QZD6GG1uMJ- Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 23, 2019
Then it was Tatum's time to take over.
After Malik Monk's three-point play early in the fourth quarter cut the lead to 84-80, Tatum erupted, scoring 16 of the Celtics' next 19 points to put them up 103-86 with 6:23 remaining.
He finished with 22 points in the fourth quarter, knocking down this step-back triple for his 39th point of the night:
JT knocks down the step-back three to set a new career high in tonight's @JetBlue Play of the Game! pic.twitter.com/oySqnV9chf- Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 23, 2019
Walker finished the night with 23 points, while Jaylen Brown added 16 points and nine rebounds.
With the Celtics in control, fan-favourite Tacko Fall checked into the game with 2:36 remaining, much to the delight of the TD Garden crowd. He stretched the lead to 117-93 with back-to-back buckets, finishing with four points and two rebounds.
🙌 @tackofall99 checks in late and goes 2-2 from the field for the 2nd-straight game! #Celtics pic.twitter.com/i05lSvUhiR- NBA (@NBA) December 23, 2019
For the Hornets, who have now dropped three in a row, Graham finished with 23 points and 10 assists, while Bismack Biyombo added 18 and Miles Bridges 15. Terry Rozier scored 14 points in his first game back at TD Garden.
With the win, the Celtics move to 20-7 on the season, while the Hornets fall to 13-20.