Celtics win fifth in a row, 94-84 over Bobcats

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Celtics win fifth in a row, 94-84 over Bobcats

BOSTON Even though most of the focus coming into Tuesday night's game was on Paul Pierce and his surpassing Boston Celtics great Larry Bird for the No. 2 spot on the franchise's all-time scorers list, the Celtics did have to actually play a game.

And the Charlotte Bobcats, as bad as they have been all season, were not simply going to show up and get thumped.

Once Pierce and the Celtics got past his record-climbing night in the third quarter, Boston took firm control of the game and came away with a 94-84 win.

Boston (14-10) extended its winning streak to a season-best five in a row. Kevin Garnett turned in yet another stellar game, finishing with 22 points on 10-for-15 shooting along with seven rebounds.

Ray Allen got it going in the second half, which is when he scored 15 of his 17 points. And then there was Rajon Rondo doing what Rondo does best - rack up double-doubles. He had 10 points and 13 assists for his fourth double-double this season.

And then there was the man of the night, Paul Pierce.

He needed 10 points to surpass Bird for the No. 2 spot on the C's all-time scorer's list. Pierce finished with 15 points, and now has a career total of 21,797 points. He also had eight rebounds and nine assists, coming within a play or two of his first triple-double this season.

As for the Bobcats (3-22), losers of 12 in a row now, former UConn star Kemba Walker had a solid return to New England with 16 points and seven rebounds.

Mingo, Branch among the Patriots sitting out of preseason game No. 3

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Mingo, Branch among the Patriots sitting out of preseason game No. 3

Barkevious Mingo has made his way to Charlotte to join the Patriots, but he will not take the field with his new club about 24 hours after being traded by the Browns. 

The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder that the Patriots acquired for a fifth-round pick on Thursday went through a workout long before Friday night's preseason game, but he was not in uniform with his teammates leading up to kickoff. 

Along with Mingo, Rob Gronkowski, Rob Ninkovich, Jabaal Sheard, Jonathan Cooper, Shaq Mason, Malcolm Mitchell, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Shea McClellin and Alan Branch were not on the field for warmups. All four players who are still on the physically unable to perform list -- Sebastian Vollmer, Danny Amendola, Tre' Jackson and Dion Lewis -- were also missing. 

Branch has been reinstated by the Patriots and re-joined the team after serving a team-imposted week-long suspension, but it appears as though he will not take the field Friday night. 

Ninkovich (triceps), Mitchell (elbow), Cooper (foot), Mason (hand, reportedly), Sheard (knee) and McClellin (undisclosed) have been dealing with injuries and were not expected to play. Grugier-Hill is a bit of a surprise absence given that he practiced for the Patriots this week. 

Keep an eye on running back DJ Foster and receiver Keshawn Martin, both of whom will see preseason game action for the first time this summer and could make late runs at roster spots. Patriots receiver Julian Edelman may also see some game action for the first time this preseason as he was on the field with the team and in uniform before the game. Logan Ryan, Nate Ebner and undrafted rookie tight end Bryce Williams may see their first game action as well. 

As Tom E. Curran reported, Tom Brady will play, though Jimmy Garoppolo will start. Brady and the team's other quarterbacks took the field together for warmups in the lead-up to kickoff.