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Bobcats grab first win in Boston

Mar 22, 2007 - 3:53 AM BOSTON (Ticker) -- The Boston Celtics turned in a lethargic effort as the Charlotte Bobcats picked up their first win here in franchise history.

The Celtics scored 31 points in the first quarter, but managed a total of 30 points in the second half as the Bobcats rallied for a 92-84 victory, their first in Boston in three years of existence.

Raymond Felton scored 19 points, including six in the fourth quarter, as Charlotte (26-43) outscored Boston, 30-13, in the fourth quarter to complete the milestone win. Matt Carroll added eight in the final period and finished with 15 points.

"We just said let's make this run," Felton said, "See what happens and try to get this win. Everybody rotated the way we're supposed to. We came up with loose balls. We just came together as a team."

"Once we made one or two (shots) we got some confidence," Carroll said. "Coming down in transition we moved the ball well and we got some open looks. I thought we played a little harder in the second half. We kind of turned up the intensity. We were scrapping a little but more, we went to a smaller lineup and got all over the court."

Boston held a 54-39 lead at the half as Paul Pierce and Al Jefferson got off to hot starts, combining for 34 points on 13-of-18 shooting before intermission.

However, Pierce sat out the entire fourth quarter after taking a hard hit to the face at the end of the third. He finished with 23 points and Jefferson had 22 points and 11 rebounds.

Pierce suffered a bruise below his left eye and a cut to the inside of his mouth. He is not expected to miss any games.

"That guy is terrific," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said about Pierce. "Even if you're bumping him and pushing him he'll just shoot over you. The guy's a great, great player and he's the type that just elevates everyone on his team."

With the Celtics (20-48) clinging to a 71-62 lead, Charlotte shot over 62 percent (10-of-16) in the fourth quarter while Boston went just 5-of-22, including 0-of-5 from the arc. The Bobcats ripped off runs of 18-0 and 31-5 between the third and fourth quarters.

"They don't surrender," Bickerstaff said about his team. "The guys that we put in the game are ready to play. That's what we talked about at halftime. We'll give the starting group an opportunity but then the other guys should be ready."

The Bobcats have now won two games in a row to move 5 1/2 ahead of the Celtics for the worst record in the Eastern Conference.

"I was not tanking the game," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "I was not throwing the game or anything like that because I've heard all those questions. I got to the point early in the fourth quarter when I turned to my coaches and said that we're going to win or lose with this group (the second unit).

"I got to the point where I said what do you get if we win this game if we put Paul (Pierce) and Al (Jefferson) back in. What would we get out of this game. At some point, those other guys have to be able to play a little bit. I said screw it, they're staying in. There was no other message, hold the lead and win the game or lose the lead and show us what you don't have."

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