AP19312076504540 240x500 - NBA: Celtics beat Hornets in Kemba Walker’s return to Charlotte

Boston Celtics’ Kemba Walker (8) shoots over Charlotte Hornets’ Marvin Williams (2) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

By the Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jayson Tatum scored 23 points, and Kemba Walker got a win in an emotional return to Charlotte as the Boston Celtics defeated the Hornets 108-87 on Thursday night.

Walker had an off night shooting the ball and finished with 14 points and six assists, but the Celtics won their sixth straight game handily.

Walker missed his first six shots and didn’t make a field goal until three minutes into the third quarter.

Gordon Hayward added 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, who scored 17 points off 21 Charlotte turnovers.

Walker received a rousing, one-minute standing ovation from the home crowd after the Hornets showed a highlight tribute on the videoboard that left the point guard in tears.

The three-time All-Star played eight NBA seasons in Charlotte and is the franchise’s all-time leading scorer. He signed with the Celtics this past offseason after Hornets owner Michael Jordan elected not to pay Walker a five-year, $221 million supermax contract.

But he left on good terms with the organization and its fans and said before the game he was expecting a warm response.

“I have always interacted with fans, always signed autographs and always took pictures,” Walker said after shootaround. “I was always nice to everybody, so I don’t think there should be any negative reactions.”

Miles Bridges had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Hornets, who had their three-game win streak snapped. Charlotte was just 6 of 31 from 3-point range.

AP19312014622853 640x510 - NBA: Celtics beat Hornets in Kemba Walker’s return to Charlotte

Boston Celtics’ Kemba Walker, a former Charlotte Hornet, hugs old friends before an NBA basketball game between the teams in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

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