Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 11/12

Game 1: Friday, November 12th
Game 2: Tuesday, January 25th
Game 3: Friday, March 4th
Game 4: Monday, March 14th

Bobcats 74

(1-3, 0-2 away)

Celtics 91

(3-2, 2-2 home)

    7:30 PM ET, November 12, 2004

    TD Garden, Boston, MA

    1 2 3 4 T
    CHA 22 19 16 1774
    BOS 19 22 27 2391

    Top Performers

    Cha: E. House 15 Pts, 4 Reb, 3 Ast, 6 Stl, 2 Blk

    Bos: R. Davis 19 Pts, 5 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Stl

    Payton, Davis help Celtics pull away

    BOSTON (AP) -- Gary Payton and the Boston Celtics shook off a sluggish first half once they realized they couldn't just walk over the expansion Charlotte Bobcats.

    The Celtics beat the Bobcats 91-74 on Friday night with an aggressive third quarter and a strong performance by their second team even though Paul Pierce struggled most of the game.

    "We thought we were playing somebody who wasn't really good and this team is good," Payton said of the Bobcats. "We need to run and get easy baskets. Once we started doing that we got a bounce in our step."

    The Celtics won their third straight game by turning a 41-41 halftime tie into a 68-57 lead after three quarters. Payton had 10 points and two assists, and Ricky Davis added six points and three assists in the third period.

    Then in the fourth, second-year point guard Marcus Banks and rookie guard Tony Allen led the second unit. Each scored six of Boston's first 12 points, 10 on layups, tips or dunks, putting the Celtics ahead 80-66 with 7:51 left.

    "We play together every day. We're basically like a family," Banks said of the backups. "We were using our athleticism and speed and quickness to get by those guys."

    The Celtics led by 12 to 19 points the rest of the way with Pierce, who had just five points in the first 43 minutes, adding five in the last five. Davis scored 19 points, Payton added 15 and Banks had 13. The Celtics outscored the Bobcats 27-9 on fastbreaks and had 31 points off turnovers.

    "Paul Pierce is a great player, but he's not the whole team," Charlotte's Emeka Okafor said. "Their other guys, like Payton and Davis, made up for it."

    The Bobcats, 0-2 on the road and 1-3 overall, were led by Eddie House with 15 points and Jason Hart with 13. House wasn't surprised that Charlotte kept the game close in the first half.

    "No disrespect to Boston, but we weren't playing the Spurs or Detroit," he said.

    The Bobcats led for most of the first half, but the Celtics tied it with the last two baskets, a layup by Davis and a dunk by Kendrick Perkins.

    Then the Celtics' experience, athleticism and shooting took over. They made 11 of 21 shots in the third quarter while Charlotte connected on just 7 of 21.

    "It was an ugly game, but we managed to pull it off," Pierce said. "We made some strides off the bench."

    The Bobcats took their last lead, 45-43, on a dunk by Primoz Brezec. Then Payton hit a jumper, a 3-pointer and a layup, making it 50-45 with 6:59 left in the quarter. Boston took its biggest lead of the period, 66-55 on a dunk by rookie Al Jefferson off a steal by Davis.

    Raef LaFrentz had five points and six rebounds in the quarter.

    "We got selfish in terms of `this is about me and this isn't happening for me," Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "It's that simple. We were awful."

    Charlotte's Steve Smith sank the first basket of the fourth quarter, a 3-pointer that cut the lead to 68-60. Then Boston's young guards took over. Banks hit the next two baskets for the Celtics, Allen scored three in a row and Banks finished the 12-6 run with a layup, making it 80-66.

    "We were just absolutely flat and you could see that. We won because we had a couple of boosts," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "Our second unit was phenomenal."

    Game notes

    Pierce had an off night after his basket at the buzzer beat Portland 90-88 on Wednesday night. He went 3-for-13 from the field with seven turnovers but had seven assists, seven rebounds and four steals. ... Okafor, who spent his college career at nearby Connecticut, finished with six points and 11 rebounds, his third straight game with at least 10 rebounds.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 74 91
    FGM-FGA 30-75 (.400) 37-80 (.463)
    3PM-3PA 4-15 (.267) 2-12 (.167)
    FTM-FTA 10-17 (.588) 15-24 (.625)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-40 12-42
    Assists 21 23
    Turnovers 26 20
    Steals 10 14
    Blocks 7 5
    Fast Break Points 4 11
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (1/0) 16 (3/0)
    Largest Lead 7 19

    Top Performers

    Eddie House House
    Points: 15
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 6
    Blk: 2
    Ricky Davis Davis
    Points: 19
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0