Celtics down Bobcats, tie Sixers atop Atlantic DivisionMar 27, 2012 - 3:46 AM Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - Paul Pierce scored a season-high 36 points with 10 rebounds and the Boston Celtics moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic Division with a 102-95 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night.
Their fourth win in five games pulled the Celtics even with the Philadelphia 76ers at 27-22.
The Bobcats, meanwhile, lost their fourth straight and became the first NBA team to 40 losses in the lockout-shortened season (7-40).
Kevin Garnett added 24 points, Brandon Bass scored 15 and Rajon Rondo had 13 assists and seven points for the Celtics.
Gerald Henderson led the Bobcats with 21 points, Byron Mullens scored 18 and Derrick Brown had 16.
Mullens, Brown and the Bobcats bench outscored Boston's 59-9, but little else broke their way statistically. They were out-rebounded and out-scored in the paint and on the break.
"We have every reason to put our heads down but we have to fight through adversity and just keep playing," said Mullens. "If we play every other team as hard as we played the Celtics, the sky's the limit."
The Celtics, though they are tied with the Sixers in the Atlantic, remained in the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference because of a tiebreaker.
The Sixers, who were idle Monday, are 2-0 against the Celtics and sit No. 4 -- a much more desirable position to be in. If the playoffs started Tuesday, the Celtics would have to face the Miami Heat.
"We haven't beaten Philadelphia yet, so if it comes down to a tie they have the advantage on us," said Pierce. "It's good for now [because] we still have a lot more ball to play."
It was a big win nonetheless, though it was one that probably grew a little too tight down the stretch after Boston led by 18 points after the first quarter.
Mullens knocked down a long jumper with 2:09 remaining that capped a 12-3 run and drew the Bobcats within four points at 95-91.
Pierce followed with a layup, pushing the lead to six, and Charlotte was never closer than five after that while missing its last three shots from the field and two of its last six free throws.
Earlier, Pierce scored 10 points and the Celtics shot 50 percent for their big first quarter lead. The Bobcats cut it to 52-50 at halftime with a big second quarter, but trailed 82-75 going into the fourth.
The Celtics beat the Bobcats, 94-84, in Boston on Feb. 7. The teams will meet again April 15 in Charlotte...Boston returns home to play Utah Wednesday...The Bobcats began a three-game homestand that also includes visits from Minnesota on Wednesday and Denver on Friday.
- BOSTON: 102
Mar 26 9:44 PM
- BOSTON: 82
End of 3rd
Mar 26 9:05 PM
- BOSTON: 52
Mar 26 8:15 PM
- BOSTON: 33
End of 1st
Mar 26 7:39 PM
- BOSTON: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Mar 26 7:12 PM
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