Pierce-less Celtics blown out by lowly Bobcats

Pierce-less Celtics blown out by lowly Bobcats
March 12, 2013, 9:15 pm
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Losers of 10 in a row, the last seven by at least 17 points which is an NBA record.

Something had to break right for the Charlotte Bobcats eventually, right?

And if you're the Boston Celtics, you're asking yourselves, "why tonight?"

In a game lacking emotion as much as effective execution on the part of Boston, the C's fell behind in the first half and could never catch up as the Bobcats knocked off the Celtics - again - by the final of 100-74.

Charlotte had a similar losing streak last month when the C's came to town just hours after a thrilling triple overtime win over Denver.

But the C's had no reason for this one.

None.

Of course, Charlotte's guard play was crucial to the win and for a change, it wasn't former UConn star Kemba Walker leading the charge.

It was Gerald Henderson who scored 21 of his game-high 35 points in the first half.

After a close first half, the Bobcats erupted in the third with a 12-3 run to take their largest lead of the night, 61-49, with 7:37 to play in the third quarter.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers had seen enough and called a time-out, trying to find a way to stop the hemorrhaging as the Bobcats sliced and diced up the C's defense in a way no one expected.

Of course the decision to rest Paul Pierce was certainly a factor. But even without Pierce, the C's had no business losing this game, not like this.

After the time-out called by Rivers when the Celtics fell behind by 12 points, it was clear his message had to do with being more in attack mode at both ends of the floor.

Moments out of the time-out, Jason Terry hit a mid-range jumper.

On the ensuing possession, Terry forced Henderson to turn the ball over. That led to a pair of free throws by Jeff Green.

After the free throws, the C's forced a 24-second violation.

Message received.

It was a disappointing performance on so many levels beyond the final outcome.

Boston has the playoffs to look forward to, and needs to rack up as many wins as possible.

Meanwhile, the Bobcats are just a few more losses away from officially punching their ticket back to the NBA lottery, with every loss they accrue actually helping improve their lottery status.

Boston's low-energy effort was apparent from the very start of the game as Charlotte opened with an 8-0. The C's responded by scoring eight straight to tie the game and eventually took a slim 20-19 lead after the first quarter.

But the second quarter was one in which the Celtics repeatedly showed no signs of taking over the game - at all.

And by allowing the Bobcats to hang around, their confidence steadily grew to the point where they had to believe that maybe just maybe, this would be the night that their 10-game losing streak would come to an end.

It certainly had the makings of such a game which saw Charlotte ahead 49-46 at the half.

Doing most of the damage for the Bobcats was Gerald Henderson, who had 21 at the half which included a 19-foot, buzzer-beating jumper right before the halftime horn sounded.