LOS ANGELES (AFP) — Boston guard Kemba Walker scored 14 points in an emotional return to Charlotte as the Celtics notched their sixth straight NBA victory, 108-87, over the Hornets.
Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 23 points and Gordon Hayward added 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Walker, who was clearly moved by a video tribute from the home team, connected on just four of 12 shots from the field — missing his first six shots before he scored his first field goal early in the third quarter.
Despite his struggles, Walker called it an “amazing night” in Charlotte, where the three-time All-Star played eight seasons and became the Hornets’ all-time leading scorer.
Walker signed with the Celtics in the off-season after the Hornets, owned by NBA icon Michael Jordan, opted not to give him a five-year, $221 million super max contract.
“I was trying to hold it in,” Walker said of his reaction to the tribute video — and a standing ovation from Hornets fans.
“I told myself I wasn’t going to cry but I couldn’t hold it in.”
“I knew there was going to be a video but I didn’t know what to expect.”
The Celtics ended the Hornets’ three-game winning streak as they won their sixth in a row.
They will try to extend their own six-game winning streak when they visit the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.
The Spurs defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 121-112 on Thursday behind 39 points from LaMarcus Aldridge, who connected on 19 of his 23 shots from the floor.