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Hornets 96, Celtics 87: Big night for Big Al

For the longest time Al Jefferson couldn't beat his former team. He went winless against the Boston Celtics in the first 11 meetings after being traded away in July 2007 and was 1-13 entering Wednesday's tilt in Charlotte.

Jefferson scored a game-high 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting with 14 rebounds over 36 minutes as the Charlotte Hornets bested the Celtics 94-85 at Time Warner Cable Arena.

Jefferson dominated around the basket, including in the fourth quarter when he scored 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Boston simply had no answer for the 29-year-old big man.

Rajon Rondo produced his third triple-double of the season by posting 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists over 32 minutes. It's the 32nd triple-double of Rondo's career. But this was hardly Rondo's night and he was a team-worst minus-21 in plus/minus for the game.

Marcus Thornton tried to will the Celtics' stagnant offense in the fourth quarter and finished with 16 points.

Zeller Bowl: In the latest head-to-head battle between Cody and Tyler Zeller, it was the younger brother's team prevailing. Charlotte's Cody finished with 9 points and 2 rebounds over 24 minutes, but was plus-17; Boston's Tyler had 13 points and 8 rebounds over 26:35, but was minus-19.

Rondo/Stephenson dust-up: Rondo and Charlotte's Lance Stephenson got into it a bit midway through the third quarter. Rondo put an elbow near Stephenson's face and the Hornets forward seemed to flop a bit before getting up and giving a yapping Rondo a bit of a headbutt. Referees assessed a double technical. Stephenson finished with 13 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. He was plus-21 in 37 minutes.

Loose balls: The Celtics went 11 deep with their rotation. The only healthy DNP: Gerald Wallace, who had the best years of his career in Charlotte. ... The Celtics shot 43.7 percent, but only 21.7 percent beyond the 3-point arc. ... The Hornets shot only 41.7 percent, but benefited from shooting 29 free throws. ... Boston had only 10 attempts at the charity stripe. ... The Hornets outscored the Celtics 33-21 in the third quarter to take over the game.

What it means: The Celtics fall to 7-13 after losing both games on a brief two-game road trip. Boston returns home to host the New York Knicks on Friday night before heading back out on the road for a stop in Philadelphia on Monday.