John Farrell (left) last October
BOSTON – Kyrie Irving continued his dominance with a game-high 34 points as the Boston Celtics won their fourth straight game out of the All-Star break, beating the visiting Charlotte Hornets 134-106 on Wednesday.
Irving is averaging 27 points since the break and has scored 25 or more in three consecutive games. Six of Irving’s teammates also scored in double digits as Boston stayed within a half-game of Eastern Conference-leading Toronto.
Kemba Walker had 23 points and Dwight Howard added 21 for Charlotte, which had its season-high five-game winning streak snapped and was swept in its three-game season series with Boston.
Boston’s Jaylen Brown and Marcus Morris each scored 15 points, Greg Monroe and Terry Rozier had 14 apiece, Aron Baynes added 12 and Marcus Smart 10. Baynes also grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.
The Celtics established a season high in points, easily passing their previous high of 124 set against Denver on Dec. 13.
Frank Kaminsky finished with 16 points, Massachusetts native and former NBA Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams had 14 and Jeremy Lamb 10 for the Hornets.
Charlotte was down two starters as both Cody Zeller and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were sidelined due to left knee soreness.
Boston’s Daniel Theis missed the game because of right hamstring soreness.
The Celtics were up 67-59 at halftime and quickly opened up a 20-point advantage early in the third quarter after a pair of Brown free throws capped a 21-8 run to make it 88-67 with 5:57 to play.
Boston stretched the margin to 27 later in the quarter before taking a 103-79 lead after three.
The Celtics led by as many as 32 in the fourth. Rozier’s 3-pointer with 4:13 left in the game gave Boston its season high in points.
The Hornets were down 37-31 after the first quarter and trailed by 14 early in the second. Kaminsky’s driving hook shot with 2:13 before halftime brought Charlotte within 61-57, but the Celtics had their lead back up to eight at the break.
Charlotte continues its three-game road swing Friday at Philadelphia. Boston begins a three-game trip Saturday in Houston.
–Field Level Media
Dave Dombrowski and J.D. Martinez
The outfielder/designated hitter J.D. Martinez was signed to a five-year contract through the 2022 season. Team President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski made the announcement. Martinez will wear number 28.
Since the start of the 2014 season, Martinez’s .574 slugging percentage ranks second in Major League Baseball (min. 1,500 PA) behind only Mike Trout (.579). In that same time, Martinez ranks in the top 20 in the majors in several offensive categories, including batting average (15th, .300), OPS (7th, .936), home runs (10th, 128), at bats per home run (8th, 15.07), RBI (18th, 350), and extra-base hits (10th, 262). He is one of 20 major leaguers with at least 20 home runs in each of those four seasons, having hit 23 in 2014, 38 in 2015, 22 in 2016, and 45 in 2017.
Despite appearing in only 119 games, Martinez set career highs in 2017 with 45 home runs, 104 RBI, and a 1.066 OPS between the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks. Among players with at least 300 at-bats, he led the majors in at-bats per home run (9.60) and at-bats per RBI (4.15). The right-handed hitter’s 45 homers ranked third in the majors behind Giancarlo Stanton (59) and Aaron Judge (52), as he joined Hank Aaron, Ken Griffey Jr., and Matt Williams as the only players ever with 40 or more home runs in 120 games or fewer. Martinez hit .303 (131-for-432) with 26 doubles, 85 runs scored, a .376 on-base percentage, and a .690 slugging percentage, also matching career bests in triples (3) and walks (53).
Acquired by Arizona on July 18, 2017, Martinez recorded 29 home runs and 65 RBI in only 62 games with the Diamondbacks. From July 19—his first game with Arizona—through the end of the season, his 29 homers ranked second in the majors. Martinez tied a major league single-game record by hitting four home runs on September 4 at Dodger Stadium, becoming the 18th player to accomplish the feat. He had six multi-homer games in 2017, while his four games with at least five RBI were tied with Daniel Murphy for most in the majors. Martinez earned Player of the Week honors four times, the most ever by a player in a single season since the award’s inception in 1973.
Martinez went on to appear in each of the Diamondbacks’ four postseason games, going 3-for-4 with a home run in Game 1 of the NLDS at Dodger Stadium.
In the past four seasons (2014-17), Martinez has hit .310 (138-for-445) with a 1.016 OPS against left-handed pitchers and batted .297 (441-for-1,484) with a .911 OPS versus right-handed pitchers. In that same time, the only other players with an OPS of at least .900 against both right-handed and left-handed pitchers (min. 500 PA against each) are Mike Trout, Joey Votto, and Paul Goldschmidt. Against lefties in 2017, Martinez batted .376 (35-for-93) with a 1.356 OPS.
Martinez has batted at least .275 with runners in scoring position in each of the last four years, including .317 (39-for-123) in 2017. He hit three grand slams last season, tied for second-most in the majors as one of only five players to reach that mark. Martinez has hit .318 (121-for-381) with 24 home runs and a .960 OPS in 104 career games against AL East opponents, and in 2017 he batted .409 (18-for-44) with five home runs versus the division. In seven career games at Fenway Park, he is 12-for-27 (.444) with two doubles.
Selected by Houston in the 20th round of the 2009 June Draft, Martinez has hit .285 (805-for-2,828) with an .857 OPS and 152 home runs in 772 major league games for the Astros (2011-13), Tigers (2014-17), and Diamondbacks (2017). In 2015, he was named to both the American League All-Star Team and the Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Team as an outfielder. That season, he was also named one of three finalists for the Rawlings Gold Glove Award for right field.
In addition to his postseason experience with Arizona in 2017, Martinez played for Detroit in the 2014 ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles. He recorded an extra-base hit and an RBI in each of those three games, homering in Game 1 and Game 2 at Camden Yards.
Born in Miami, Martinez played baseball for three seasons (2007-09) at Nova Southeastern University. He currently resides in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Alex Coro and Dave Dombrowski (r). of Red Sox
Memorial at Marjory Douglas Stoneman H.S.