The Boston Celtics are falling into a nasty little hole in the first week of the season, as the reigning Atlantic champs are 0-3 after falling to the New Orleans Hornets 97-78 on Wednesday. The Hornets, now a shocking 2-0 after wins over the Suns and C's, put on a deft offensive performance against what has been a solid defensive club. Jarrett Jack, coming off of a one-game suspension to open the season, led the Hornets with 21 points on 8-17 shooting and nine assists.
Carl Landry thoroughly outperformed his matchup Kevin Garnett, as the Hornet scored 20 on 6-9 shooting, earning eight free throws. Marco Belinelli hit 3-4 from downtown, and Boston was awful on the defensive glass, giving up 12 N.O. offensive rebounds in 36 opportunities.
Paul Pierce was missed each of Boston's first three games. He's due back Friday, not a moment too soon.
In other action:
Hawks 101, Wizards 83: Atlanta had a beautifully balanced performance after taking a nine-point lead at the first intermission. The 'Zards got 20 points, six assists and three steals from John Wall, and Nick Young again provided a strong boost off the bench (21 points, 6-12 floor, 3-6 threes). But Andray Blatche shot 2-13 and starting two-guard Jordan Crawford shot 0-6.
Nuggets 117, Jazz 100: It is safe to say that Denver has a ridiculously good offense. Nene beasted for 25 (!) on 10-13 shooting, and Old Man Andre Miller offered up 12 assists off the bench as the Nuggets blasted their Rocky Mountain rivals. Al Jefferson had 19 on 8-14 shooting across from Nene, but young power forward Derrick Favors struggled on offense (2 points, 1-4).
Cavaliers 105, Pistons 89: In a very Byron Scott-Lawrence Frank game, the Cavs shot sharply and earned the team's first win. Rookie Kyrie Irving bounced back from an awful opener with 14 points on 5-9 shooting with seven assists and three turnovers; his backup Ramon Sessions was good as well, scoring 16 points on 14 shot attempts with seven rebounds and six assists. Pistons rookie Brandon Knight shot a ridiculous 10-13 (3-5 on threes) for 23 points with six assists and two turnovers. The rest of Detroit's bench scored two points in 45 minutes on 1-9 shooting.
Sixers 103, Suns 83: Phoenix is not good, I'm afraid. After getting beat by the Hornets on opening night, the Suns got trounced by Philly. The Suns' starting five shot 7-35; the bench was much better, but it wasn't enough. Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young each had 15 to lead the Sixers. Spencer Hawes, quickly becoming interesting, had nine points, 11 rebounds, three assists, two steals, two blocks and four turnovers.
Pacers 90, Raptors 85: Indiana held off Toronto in a competitive game in which neither offense could get into much of a flow. Paul George had 18 for the Pacers, showing off a threatening three-point stroke (4-7), while Danny Granger had 21 on 20 shot attempts (including a trip to the line). Reports out of Toronto suggest Andrea Bargnani played credible defense. We're checking our weather station in Hell. Stand by for further confirmation.