Bobcats end Celtics' winning streak, 94-91

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Bobcats end Celtics' winning streak, 94-91

CHARLOTTE, N.C. The fatigue that typically comes with a triple-overtime game caught up with the Boston Celtics in the fourth quarter, dropping a 94-91 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats.

A mid-range jumper by Ramon Sessions put the Bobcats ahead 92-91 with 25.7 seconds to play.

After a Kevin Garnett miss, former UConn star Kemba Walker made a pair of free throws to give the Bobcats a three-point lead with less than 15 seconds to play.

Following a Celtics time-out, Paul Pierce and then Avery Bradley each missed potential game-tying 3s.

Charlotte grabbed the loose ball and ran time out.

The C's may have lost more than just a game on Monday. Leandro Barbosa went down late in the third quarter with a left knee injury. He could not put any weight on the injury and had to be carried off the court by teammate Fab Melo and team trainer Ed Lacerte.

Barbosa's injury makes an already short-handed roster that much thinner with his injury coming on the heels of the Celtics losing Rajon Rondo (torn right ACL) and Jared Sullinger (back surgery) for the season.

Compounding the matter was that head coach Doc Rivers came into Monday's game wanting to limit the minutes of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett who logged 54 and 47 minutes, respectively, in the C's triple overtime win over Denver Sunday night.

Pierce and Garnett didn't spend a ton of time on the floor in the first half as they played about half of the first quarter and the second half of the second quarter before tallying six and eight points, respectively. Pierce finished with 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists while Garnett tallied 16 points and 13 rebounds.

Even with them seeing limited action, Boston still managed to take a 48-42 lead into the half.

Well aware that the C's dynamic duo of Pierce and Garnett would be limited, it afforded Jeff Green to be a more featured part of the Celtics game plan.

And to his credit, Green delivered.

At 6-foot-9, the Bobcats struggled to find a matchup that limited his effectiveness.

When they put 6-5 Gerald Henderson on him, Green took him on the block and scored in the post.

Charlotte tried to go with more size and that didn't work, either. He just beat them down court or off the dribble in half court sets.

It all set the stage for an 11-point first half for Green who has now scored in double figures in eight of the C's last nine games. He finished with a team-high 18 points.

But the Bobcats are known for being a competitive bunch, and Monday was no exception.

Early on, it was Byron Mullens (11 first-quarter points) keeping them afloat. It didn't take long before their leading scorer, former UConn star Kemba Walker got going. Mullens led all scorers with 25 points while Walker chipped in with 18 points, six rebounds and six assists.

Thomas won’t play Friday night vs. Raptors

Thomas won’t play Friday night vs. Raptors

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics are about to hit one of the toughest stretches of the season and they’ll have to do it for at least one more game without their leading scorer, Isaiah Thomas. 
 
Thomas, who suffered a right groin injury on Monday against the Houston Rockets, did not play on Wednesday against Orlando and said that he will not play in Friday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors. 
 
“It’s day to day. I want to play. I want to be out there but it’s the smart decision to hold out and wait until it’s 100 percent,” Thomas said during a Season of Giving event for children of the Military Friends Foundation held at the Celtics’ practice facility. “If it was a playoff game I would be out there for sure.”
 
However, after consulting with a number of medical personnel, Thomas decided the best thing for him and the Celtics was to sit out Friday’s game which, along with Wednesday in Orlando, will be the first two he has missed since the 2014-2015 season. 
 
Thomas said there’s no specific timetable for his return, but he said he is planning to travel with the team to Oklahoma City for their matchup against the Thunder on Sunday. 
 
“It’s eating me a live to sit, but I have to do what’s best for my body, I have to do what’s best for this team,” Thomas said. “I need to be 100 percent healthy to give this team what I can give them.”
 
The Celtics are hoping for similar success they had Wednesday in Orlando (a 117-87 victory) on Friday against Toronto.
 
“They played a hell of a game last night,” Thomas said. “They’ll be ready tomorrow.”
 
The fact that Thomas intends to travel with the team is a good sign that the groin injury isn’t too serious. 
 
If he doesn’t play at Oklahoma City, that likely means he’ll return to action on Wednesday at San Antonio. 
 
“I’m going to do what I can to get back out there on the court,” Thomas said. “I gotta be smart about this. I don’t want this to linger on this season.”
 
Replacing Smart in the lineup against Toronto will most likely be Marcus Smart. 
 
Smart, who has been a replacement starter at small forward and point guard this season, had 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals against the Magic.