94 - 99 Final
  for this game

Celtics use balanced attack to down Bobcats

Jan 15, 2011 - 6:00 AM Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Shaquille O'Neal led Boston with 23 points while Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen turned in key performances, helping the Celtics to a 99-94 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.

Rondo finished with 18 points, 13 assists, and six rebounds for Boston, which has won two in a row and improved to 30-9 this season. Allen sank four three- pointers, including a pair in the fourth quarter that helped Boston maintain a multiple-possession lead.

Allen and Paul Pierce both scored 19 points in the victory, which Boston recorded without injured forwards Jermaine O'Neal and Kevin Garnett. Fortunately for the Celtics, another big man filled the void.

"I knew that whatever happened I was going to be ready," said Shaquille O'Neal, who played a season-high 35 minutes. "I've been in foul trouble and haven't really played a lot of minutes so there was really no excuse for me to be tired. I just came out and got a few more touches tonight and just did what I do."

Gerald Wallace had 20 points to lead the Bobcats, who had won their last four. D.J. Augustin added 19 points and six assists in the setback.

Charlotte entered the fourth quarter facing a 69-66 deficit and made enough shots to stay in the game early in the final period. After Wallace sank two free throws and a jumper with about nine minutes to play, the Bobcats were within 76-74.

But O'Neal followed with a turnaround bucket to prevent Charlotte from having a chance to tie the game. Several possessions later, Allen drained a three. The Bobcats' Shaun Livingston hit a jumper at the other end, but Allen answered with another three.

An Augustin miss led to a Rondo three, which expanded Boston's lead to 87-76 with 5:25 to play. While Augustin scored 10 points in the final four minutes, the effort wasn't enough to erase Charlotte's double-digit deficit, as Boston made enough free throws to secure the victory.

Bobcats interim head coach Paul Silas said his team had a defensive scheme that worked until the late breakdown, and Allen's two open looks. He also noted that his team still had a chance down the stretch.

"We hung in there. Through all of that we were still there, but mentally we've got to come with it a little bit more," Silas said. "It's a mental game. That's what I told those guys; 90 percent of it is mental and we are just not there yet. We just aren't there."

In the first game between the teams this season, back on December 11, Boston dominated and claimed a 93-62 victory.

In Friday's game, however, the score was tied after the first quarter (24-24) and at halftime (42-42). Neither team led by more than six in the first half.

Boston never trailed in the third quarter, but never pulled away. Tyrus Thomas made two foul shots with 1.5 seconds left to get the Bobcats within three.

Game Notes

Charlotte held a 42-29 rebounding advantage and grabbed 13 offensive boards...Boston shot 52 percent...O'Neal blocked a season-high five shots...The Celtics have won their last six games against the Bobcats.