CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 14 (Ticker) -- Antoine Walker
to provide a spark for the resurgent Boston Celtics.
Walker had 25 points, nine rebounds and five assists as the
Celtics won for the eighth time in nine games since his return
with a 119-110 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.
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Since being reacquired by Boston, Walker is averaging 18.5
points and 9.3 rebounds as the Celtics (35-29) have opened a 4½-game lead over Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division.
"I think I brought leadership, experience, a will to win and
another option," Walker said. "I'm a versatile player who
commands a double team. Right now, we're playing good basketball
and with a high energy level, and we're trying to make a run for
this Atlantic Division title."
"We're sacrificing and knowing that it's all about team," said
Celtics swingman Paul Pierce
, who had 15 points and nine
assists. "Getting Antoine in the trade really gave us a boost
and gave us more depth and it's given us a lift. We feel like
we're one of the better teams in the East now."
Boston, which was coming off a 5-1 homestand that included
victories over Washington and Detroit in its last two games,
looked like it might suffer a letdown against the expansion
Bobcats, who scored the final six points of the third quarter to
draw within 90-89.
Charlotte missed its first nine shots of the fourth as Boston
used a 10-0 run to open a 100-89 lead with 7:43 left.
"At the eight-minute mark of the fourth quarter, we had four
good shots and they didn't go down," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff
said. "On the other end, they had those shots and
they went down. We have to do a better job of guarding the
scored six of his 27 points during the spurt and
added a 20-footer with just under five minutes remaining to push
the Celtics' advantage to 108-95.
Davis made 12-of-15 shots after being held to 12 points on
4-of-14 shooting Sunday against the Wizards.
"I had a bad game last night," Davis said, "So I really wanted
to make up for that. Tonight was just my night. If we play team
ball as a unit, I think we can go very far this season."
"He had it going tonight," Pierce said. "That's what great about
this team. Someone can do that every night. That's what makes
Rookie Emeka Okafor
answered with a dunk and Brevin Knight
scored eight points in a 10-2 run that cut the Bobcats' deficit
to 110-105 with 1:47 on the clock.
"We were able to withstand their run," Walker said. "We knew
they were going to play us hard and go with us 110 percent and
we just answered their call. Every time they had a run we
countered that run and never let them get the lead in the second
and Jason Kapono
traded 3-pointers before Walker
all but sealed the victory with a shot from the arc with 56
seconds to go.
"They cut it to five and you know you miss that shot and they
come down and score and it's a one-possession ballgame," Walker
said. "It became very critical."
"They basically have five scorers out there," Kapono said. "With
Antoine at the four and LaFrentz at the five, those are guys
who can shoot the three ball.
Walker scored 14 points in the first half, when the Celtics shot
70 percent (28-of-40). But Matt Carroll
contributed 12 of his
career-high 18 points in the second quarter as the Bobcats
forged a 68-68 tie.
"I'll give our veterans credit," Boston coach Doc Rivers
When I walked into the locker room it was already loud, with
them telling the young guys that this game was way more
important to us. It's good to get a road win."
Kapono scored 17 points and Okafor added 16 and 12 rebounds for
Charlotte, which lost its seventh straight game.
Bickerstaff was ejected one minute into the final period after
picking up a pair of technical fouls. There were a total of
five technicals in the contest.