<
>

Late 3s by Walker, LaFrentz clinch victory

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- The Boston Celtics had no problems with
their offense against the Charlotte Bobcats. It was their defense
that was nonexistent, and led to a heated halftime speech.

"The players were pretty loud when we went in there," Boston
coach Doc Rivers said. "It wasn't a pleasant speech at halftime.
It didn't need to be."

Although the Celtics played tougher D in the second half, they
still needed Raef LaFrentz and Antoine Walker to combine for three
3-pointers in the final 1:32 to lead them to a 119-110 victory over
the Bobcats on Monday night.

The Celtics went up by 15 in the first quarter, only to allow
the Bobcats to score 40 points in the second quarter. After
shooting 76 percent in the first half, the Celtics went into
halftime tied at 68.

"That scared the heck out of me," Rivers said.

Walker finished with 25 points to lead the Celtics to their
fourth straight victory and a four-game season sweep of the
Bobcats. Boston has won eight of nine games since reacquiring
Walker in a trade with Atlanta last month.

"Right now we are playing good basketball and at a high energy
level and we are trying to make a run for this Atlantic Division
title," said Walker. "We played a good game. We just didn't play
good defense."

Ricky Davis led the Celtics with 27 points. Paul Pierce and
LaFrentz scored 15 each, Gary Payton finished with 12 and Tony
Allen had 11.

But after the win, the Celtics were still finding fault with
their performance.

"The way the first quarter was going, I thought I was going to
be able to rest in the fourth quarter," Pierce said. "When you
play around with teams like this, you make it into a dog fight, but
it was good for us because you can learn from these types of games
and teams."

Matt Carroll, a guard signed from the NBDL last month, scored 18
points to lead the Bobcats, who lost their seventh straight game.
Jason Kapono added 17, and Emeka Okafor, Brevin Knight and Keith
Bogans had 16 each.

It was a contentious game, with five technical fouls called,
including consecutive calls on Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff
that forced him to the locker room with more than 10 minutes to
play in the game.

Boston led just 93-89 when Bickerstaff was kicked out, but the
Bobcats missed on six consecutive possessions and the Celtics
pulled away. Davis, who started his career in Charlotte as a
Hornet, hit a 3-pointer and a jumper for a 100-89 lead.

"I don't know if I'm paranoid ... I just want my guys, when
they go to war, to get the same calls," Bickerstaff said. "I have
no gripe with the calls against us."

Long before Bickerstaff's technical, Knight was called for one
and was so angry, he had to be restrained by all four of his
teammates on the floor. Bickerstaff took him out of the game, and
the two had a heated exchange.

Knight was still upset as he headed to his seat at the end of
the bench, stopping to yell at an assistant coach. Knight later
said he was reacting to a comment made by an official he didn't
identify.

"He made comments that were totally outside the game," Knight
said. "Ask him, he knows what he said ... I was defending
myself."

Game notes
The Bobcats are interested in re-signing Knight, who went
to Charlotte's training camp with a non-guarenteed one-year
contract. ... Pierce was selected the NBA Player of the Week before
the game. ... Charlotte is looking at several coastal Carolina
sites to hold training camp.