Pierce’s Late Layup Lifts Celtics
Boston 90, Charlotte 89
BOSTON, Nov. 25 (Ticker) -- With no one guarding him, Paul Pierce easily added to his reputation as a clutch performer.
Pierce made an uncontested driving layup with three-tenths of a second remaining to lift the Boston Celtics to a 90-89 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.
"I was a little surprised (to be that open)," said Pierce, who scored 27 points. "The play was drawn up for me to come off the handoff and create a shot, but I saw a lane open up and I just kept it going to the basket. We did a great job of executing."
"The jump ball call kind of threw everybody off and we were kind of going on the fly right there," LaFrentz said. "But we knew we had a time out left so the first step was to win the jump."
The Bobcats, who had been 3-0 against Atlantic Division teams, did not have enough time to get off a final shot.
Brevin Knight, who scored six of his 17 points in the final three minutes, could have extended Charlotte's lead in the waning seconds. But the point guard let go of the ball as he appeared to go up for a shot.
Originally ruled a traveling violation, it was overturned by referee Dan Crawford, who called a jump ball that was won by LaFrentz, setting up Boston's last possession.
"It didn't get down to the last two possessions," Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "What it got down to was breakdowns defensively where we didn't rotate, missed free throws early, so everything is magnified now because the game was at that point."
Ricky Davis had 25 points and six assists and LaFrentz added 22 and 10 rebounds for Boston, which ended a two-game slide, including Wednesday's loss to previously winless Atlanta.
"It was a much-needed win regardless of how we got it," said Pierce, who made 11-of-21 shots. "We just needed a win after not playing well the last five games. We just somehow needed to come out here and find a way to win and we did."
It marked the fifth time this season in which the game came down to a last-second shot or overtime for the Celtics, who are 3-2 in those contests.
"The best part of the game - and obviously it's easier that we won - even if we hadn't have - I thought our guys down the stretch, when things didn't go their way, stayed in the game," Boston coach Doc Rivers said.
Gerald Wallace scored 17 points, Kareem Rush added 14 and Okafor 13 and 11 rebounds for the Bobcats, who are 2-8 since a 2-1 start.
Charlotte trailed by 10 points early in the fourth quarter but fought back for a 75-75 tie on a jumper by Rush with 7:23 to go. Rush drilled a 3-pointer for an 80-77 advantage with 5:52 left.
"We never quit. That is the mark of this organization," Knight said. "We just keep grinding and grinding. That group that was in there got us back in the game and we just kept it going from there."