Pierce and Celtics hold off Bobcats
Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) – Paul Pierce posted 35 points and 11
rebounds, as the Boston Celtics downed the Charlotte Bobcats, 106-100, at
Charlotte Bobcats Arena.
Al Jefferson posted 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, who won their
fifth straight. Delonte West scored 14 points off the bench and Tony Allen
added 11 points and seven boards.
Gerald Wallace netted a season-high 31 points for the Bobcats, who again
failed to win back-to-back games for the first time this season. Raymond
Felton and Adam Morrison both scored 16 points.
Emeka Okafor posted 12 points, a season-high 19 rebounds and matched his
franchise-record with eight blocked shots.
Trailing 98-97, Charlotte blew an opportunity to take the lead when Morrison
threw the ball away on a 3-on-1 fast break with 56 seconds left. Pierce then
backed his way down in the lane and hit a fall-away jumper from the left elbow
with 39.2 seconds on the clock for a three-point Boston lead.
Wallace drove hard through the lane but threw an errant pass after getting
triple-teamed. West then converted a pair of free throws with 32.3 seconds
left to cap a 10-0 Boston run.
Okafor followed a missed layup with a dunk with 25.3 seconds remaining to make
it a one-possession game, however West scored another pair from the charity
stripe with 24.4 seconds to go.
Okafor hit a free throw with 14.7 seconds left, but Pierce made a pair of
free throws with 13.5 seconds left to seal the win.
“Charlotte was playing well but we kept telling ourselves to keep the game
close,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said. “If we could keep it close, we had a
chance to win.”
Boston took a 27-26 lead heading into the second quarter.
Charlotte opened the second stanza on a 9-0 run capped by a Morrison jumper
with two ticks under 10 minutes remaining. The Celtics regained control and
closed the quarter on a 23-4 burst sparked by a Brian Scalabrine jumper with
6:12 left. The Celtics staked a 60-50 halftime advantage.
After Pierce scored a tip shot 39 seconds into the third, Charlotte took off
on a 16-3 run capped by a Morrison jumper with 7:03 left for a 66-65 lead. The
Bobcats held an 81-78 lead heading into the fourth.
“Not a lot of people talk about Paul Pierce, but he is one of the best players
in the NBA,” Felton said.
Sean May sprained his right ankle while going after a rebound midway through
the second and failed to return. Wally Szczerbiak also sprained his right
ankle near the end of the third and failed to return…This was the third
meeting of the season between the squads. Both teams picked up a home victory
in the two previous contests. The Celtics are scheduled to host the Bobcats on
March 21, 2007 at TD Banknorth Garden in the final contest of the season
between the clubs…The Bobcats are 2-8 against the Celtics.