Morrison shines as Bobcats stop Pierce, Celtics

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Adam Morrison was answering a reporter's question when someone turned on the television in the locker room, showing that North Carolina had an early 10-point lead on his old school, Gonzaga.

"Oh no," Morrison said, stopping in mid-sentence. Raymond Felton, a North Carolina product, then started ribbing him.

It was the only time the two didn't work together all night Wednesday.

Morrison broke out of his shooting slump to score 26 points, while Felton added 16 points and nine assists while playing all 48 minutes as the Charlotte Bobcats held on to beat the Boston Celtics 92-83.

"We've been in every game and it's tough when you lose those games," Morrison said. "Hopefully we can play together like this and start hovering around .500."

Morrison's jumper with 2:11 left put Charlotte up 85-77. He then fed Emeka Okafor for a layup with 38 seconds left and hit one free throw in the final minute to ice it, finishing one shy of his career high set last week against San Antonio.

Morrison, the No. 3 pick in the draft, shot 8-of-17 after going 8-for-29 in the previous two games.

"There is going to be a transition point that people don't understand," Morrison said. "My shooting percentage is not where I want it right now, but I'm taking good shots. I'm happy that the coaching staff and the players have stuck with me."

The Bobcats blew a 12-point first-quarter lead and a 10-point edge in the second quarter. After Charlotte went up 80-68 with 5:28 left, the Celtics scored nine straight points. But Matt Carroll and Morrison hit back-to-back jumpers to help the Bobcats snap a two-game losing streak.

Paul Pierce had 28 points and 12 rebounds but got little help for the Celtics, who shot 40 percent and committed 19 turnovers.

Wally Szczerbiak was held to seven points on 3-of-13 shooting and Sebastian Telfair shot 3-for-10 as the Celtics' three-game winning streak was snapped with a performance that left coach Doc Rivers fuming.

"You play like you practice and I felt the last two practices we were walking around like we had just climbed Mount Everest," Rivers said. "I need to do a better job of coaching and the players need to do a better job of playing.

"This was an embarrassing effort on our part."

Felton, who became the first Bobcats player in their three-year history to play an entire game, hit a jumper that capped a 6-0 run to start the fourth quarter that gave Charlotte a 75-64 lead.

The Bobcats played without guard Brevin Knight, who strained his left calf in Monday's loss to Dallas, leaving Felton as the team's only true point guard. He shot only 6-of-20, but had nine assists and six rebounds.

"I knew I was going to play a lot, but I didn't know I was going to play the entire game, buzzer to buzzer," Felton said. "But I'm in great shape. I'm young. I'm able to do that right now."

It was the Celtics who looked worn down late, as they went more than 6 1/2 minutes without a field goal to start the fourth quarter, missing six straight shots.

"We thought we were really playing well," Pierce said. "We just didn't run our offense like we were supposed to. We never got a good flow going the whole game."

Al Jefferson returned after missing two weeks following an emergency appendectomy and had six points. Boston was without Delonte West (sprained left big toe), who hit the winning shot at the overtime buzzer in the first meeting between the teams in Boston on Nov. 8.

Morrison took advantage of his matchup with Szczerbiak to shoot 5-of-6 in the first quarter as the Bobcats built a 29-17 lead.

The quick start was a rarity for Morrison in Charlotte. He had been shooting 27 percent and averaging nine points in five home games, compared to 18.2 points and 44 percent shooting on the road.

The Celtics rallied to tie it midway through the second quarter, then took the lead in the third when Morrison was held scoreless.

The Bobcats responded with a 9-0 run, helped by three consecutive Boston turnovers. It was 69-64 Charlotte heading to the fourth.

Game notes
Rivers said he didn't share West's confidence that he would be ready to return Friday against New York. "I'm going to count on more like next week," he said. ... Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said the Bobcats may bring in another point guard with Knight day-to-day with a strained left calf. ... The Bobcats sent rookie C Ryan Hollins, who had not appeared in a game this season, to Fort Worth of the NBDL. "He needs to play," Bickerstaff said. ... Former Celtic Robert Parish, who lives in Charlotte, attended the game.