NBA: Bobcats 83, Celtics 81
BOSTON ó Charlotte coach Paul Silas didnít think his team had a chance when it trailed by 13 points in the fourth quarter. He didnít count on Bostonís poor offense, defense and teamwork.
His young Bobcats had good reason to celebrate their 83-81 win on Friday night that left them just two games out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The mood in the postgame locker room was joyous.
ěIt was unbelievable,î Silas said. ěItís just kind of indescribable.î
Celtics coach Doc Rivers felt much differently. After all, one of the NBAís best teams that should be building toward the playoffs lost for the sixth time in 10 games ó and endured a 16-0 run in which the Bobcats took their first lead, 76-75, with 3:56 left.
ěThe way weíre playing shocks me. Our attitude shocks me,î he said. ěI just think weíve become very, very selfish, not just as far as trying to get our own (shots), but everything is about how weíre playing individually, instead of how the team is playing.
ěA guy struggles, he pouts, he moans. Everything is me, me, me on our team right now, feeling sorry for themselves instead of giving themselves to the team and playing.î
The Celtics led 66-53 entering the fourth quarter but were outscored 30-15 the rest of the way.
The Bobcats went on a 21-4 run that put them ahead 80-75 with 2:49 left on Gerald Hendersonís 18-footer. But Boston got the next six points to go up 81-80.
Then Dante Cunningham hit a go-ahead 15-foot jumper with 34 seconds left, Henderson sank a free throw and Bostonís last hopes ended when Ray Allen missed a 3-point attempt and Kevin Garnett failed on a jumper in the final 5 seconds.
ěWhen you play a good team like this on the road, chances are youíre not going to blow them out,î said Henderson, who scored 15 points. ěTheyíre just too good. You want to play the best that you can and just get yourself in a position to win at the end.î
Charlotte, led by DJ Whiteís career-high 17 points, moved two games behind Indiana, which lost to Sacramento, for the eighth playoff spot in the East. Boston dropped two games behind the Chicago Bulls, who beat Memphis, for the best record in the East.
Boston was led by Paul Pierce with 18 points and Allen with 14.
ěOur defense really broke down in the fourth quarter,î Pierce said.