for this game

Pierce, Garnett lift Celtics past Bobcats

Nov 30, 2008 - 5:15 AM By Brian Joura PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett came up big down the stretch for the Boston Celtics.

Pierce scored seven of Boston's 11 points during a decisive 4:30 stretch late in the fourth quarter to lead the Celtics to an 89-84 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night.

After a Gerald Wallace layup tied the game at 75-75 with 5:01 to go, Pierce took over. He hit a turnaround jumper to give Boston the lead and following a dunk by Kendrick Perkins, he hit another jumper to give the Celtics an 81-77 lead.

"I think we were able to take advantage of matchups tonight," Pierce said. "It doesn't matter if it's me, Kevin (Garnett) or Ray (Allen), it's all about finding the best matchup for us that will give us the best chance to win."

A 3-pointer from the right wing by D.J. Augustin and a reverse layup by Wallace pulled the Bobcats within one point. But a baseline jumper by Garnett with 40 seconds left clinched the game for the Celtics, giving them an 86-82 lead.

"I loved what we did tonight," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "You could see we were on empty tonight. Think about playing six back-to-backs in one month, with this being the sixth. There were a lot of jump shots hitting the front of the rim, but they just found a way, so I'm really proud of them."

Raymond Felton missed two shots late before scoring with 18 seconds left for the final points of the game.

"I didn't hit some shots," Felton said." I missed a couple of easy shots. It could have went either way - foul or no foul. I missed one floater when we're down two and then they came down and hit a shot and went up four. It was kind of tough at that point. They hit shots and we didn't."

After scoring the opening bucket of the game on a baseline jumper by Pierce, Boston trailed most of the opening half and kept close only because Charlotte committed 16 first-half turnovers, which led to 22 points for the Celtics.

"You can't play in a game like this and have so many empty possessions," Bobcats coach Larry Brown said." That's the thing that's bothering me. A lot of it I think was maybe that we tired. But when you give that effort, as a coach you can't get mad at it."

Tony Allen, who provided a big boost off the bench in the second quarter when he scored seven of his 11 points, hit a layup that tied the score, 34-34.

Wallace drove the lane for a dunk which forged a 41-41 tie with 2:12 remaining in the half and Augustin hit a jumper to give Charlotte its last lead of the game. But Kendrick Perkins had a breakaway dunk and Ray Allen hit a jumper to give Boston a 45-43 halftime lead.

Pierce finished with 19 points and Kendrick Perkins had 15 points and 12 rebounds. Ray Allen added 15 points, Tony Allen had 11, and Eddie House and Kevin Garnett 10 each for the Celtics, who have won eight straight.

Wallace scored 23 points, Jason Richardson had 22 and Augustin 13 for the Bobcats.

"They're the best team in the league," Wallace said. "They're 16-2 and only two teams have beaten them. We felt like at this time we're still in a growing process. But we put ourselves in a position to win the game. We still had a chance to win the ballgame all the way down to 30 seconds in the game. We'll move forward with that."