Pierce Leads Celtics Past Bobcats
Boston 109, Charlotte 106
BOSTON, Jan. 4 (Ticker) -- All-Star Paul Pierce was glad to be at home and clearly was in an offensive state of mind.
Pierce scored 21 of his 31 points in the first half and the Boston Celtics overcame 24 turnovers to squeeze out a 109-106 triumph over the struggling Charlotte Bobcats.
"A guy like Pierce, they put the ball in his hands and he makes plays," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. That's the difference in the basketball game."
The Bobcats trailed, 75-59, midway through the third quarter but rallied with a 22-6 burst to forge an 81-81 tie entering the final period. Jumaine Jones and Gerald Wallace combined to score 14 points during the spurt.
Charlotte grabbed an 88-87 lead on a basket by Bernard Robinson with 9:43 to play. It still was tied, 100-100, on two free throws by Robinson with 2:39 left.
"We were very fortunate," Pierce said. "Obviously, there are a lot of things we have to work on. It gets frustrating when you know what your weaknesses are and you go in and you take care of one, but then the other one hurts you. I thought we played good defense today, we only allowed them to shoot 40 percent, but we turned the ball over 24 times. So, I'm waiting for the day we can get more consistent."
Pierce made a layup with 1:16 remaining before Brevin Knight sank two foul shots to tie the game for the last time.
An easy basket by rookie Orien Greene gave Boston the lead for good with 57 seconds left, and the Celtics made 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
"I'm basically waiting on my name to get called, my number to get called, and just go out there and help the team win," said Greene, who scored six points. "The play was called and I knew everybody would be looking for me to just pass the ball to the man rolling (off a screen) so I just played and went to the basket."
Ricky Davis scored 23 points and Mark Blount added 18 and eight rebounds for Boston, which shot 57 percent (40-of-70) overall and 6-of-11 from behind the arc.
Wallace had 20 points and five blocked shots and Knight contributed 18 points and 12 assists for the Bobcats, who scored 35 points off turnovers but made just 1-of-8 3-pointers in their third straight loss.
"This one really hurts," said Wallace, who grabbed nine rebounds. "We played as hard as we could and we gave it all we could. There were just some key possessions and some calls and things that didn't go our way. Guys stepped in and did what they could do. We fought the game all the way down to maybe the last minute-and-a-half and things just got out of hand."
In addition to forcing turnovers, Charlotte outworked Boston on the boards all night, outrebounding the Celtics on the offensive glass, 17-5.
"We have to play perfectly offensively to win games right now," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "The number that stands out to me obviously is the 35 (Charlotte) points off the turnovers. It was also 17-5 in offensive rebounds. If you give up 35 points off turnovers and then get outrebounded (offensively) 17-5 and you win the game, that's an amazing feat. It really is, when you think about it just number-wise."