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.

Celtics-Cavaliers preview: Game 5 is about respect for Boston

Celtics-Cavaliers preview: Game 5 is about respect for Boston

BOSTON – From the outset of this season, the Boston Celtics were swimming upstream when it came to getting respect. 

No matter how many wins they racked up, no matter how many upsets they managed to pull off, they were never going to do enough to satisfy the court of public opinion which wanted one thing and one thing only from the NBA: A third installment of Golden State against Cleveland in the NBA Finals. 

The Warriors did their part by running through the West with 12 wins in as many playoff games. 

Meanwhile, the Celtics will try to not just stave off elimination tonight, but continue to delay what so many believe is an inevitable Golden State-Cleveland Final.

Boston’s Al Horford understands that while the league this season has seen lots of individual success as well as teams that have overachieved, the thirst for Golden State versus Cleveland remains stronger than ever. 

“We understand that’s what everyone has been talking about since the beginning of the season,” Horford said. “For us it’s just to focus … and play the Celtic way. And just come out here and fight and we’ll take it from there.”

The Celtics did that in Game 3 with Avery Bradley delivering one of the more memorable shots in the Brad Stevens era, a game-winning three-pointer that hit the rim four times before falling with 0.1 seconds to play as Boston squeaked out a 111-108 win.

Boston did a lot of good things in Game 4 and seemingly went into the half sensing that maybe just maybe they would even up the series at two games heading back to Boston for tonight’s Game 5 matchup. 

But Kyrie Irving picked up the slack for a foul-plagued LeBron James, lifting the Cavaliers to a 112-99 win which puts them now just a win away from advancing to the NBA Finals. 

Not only have folks both in the media as well as fans who have rooted for this series to be over, even merchandise sellers like Dick Sporting Goods have anticipated this series as already being over.

“It is what it is,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “It’s been like that all year; a lot of guys counting us out. At the same time, we’re trying to put ourselves in position to win each and every game.”

While that has been the goal, it certainly hasn’t worked out that way in this series. 

Despite Games 1 and 2 being at the TD Garden, the Celtics lost both games by a total of 57 points. 

And while they won Game 3 and had the Cavaliers on the ropes in Game 4 before losing, they know their chance to play NBA Finals spoiler is just about up. 

“We know that’s the Finals that everybody wants to talk about, what everybody is looking forward to,” said Boston’s Marcus Smart. “We understand it. But we work just as hard as these guys. We just have to keep going out there and working. We’re not going to give it to them, and stuff like that. We just have to make it tough on them.”