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 Bobcats surprise Celtics 114-106 in OT

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PostSubject: Bobcats surprise Celtics 114-106 in OT   Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:55 pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C.(AP) After 19 straight wins and an NBA record 27-2 start, the Boston Celtics have lost that swagger.The lockdown defense and the poise are missing, too, as teams line up to get a shot at the defending champions.On
Tuesday, it was the lowly Charlotte Bobcats, as Raymond Felton scored
25 points and rookie D.J. Augustin added 11 of his 20 in overtime in a
stunning 114-106 win that sent the Celtics to their fifth loss in seven
games.Going from unbeatable to vulnerable in less than two
weeks, the Celtics were searching for answers after being left
battered, bruised and angry by Larry Brown's upstart Bobcats."We
told our team before the season it will be 82 Game 7s. Every time we
play it's a Game 7 for the other team,'' coach Doc Rivers said. "On the
nights we're not ready mentally for that, we're going to have to get
lucky and play over our head to win.''It didn't happen against Charlotte, and there was plenty of blame to go around.Paul
Pierce scored 28 points, but had a key turnover in overtime. Ray Allen
scored 20 points, but shot 7-for-20. Rajon Rondo committed nine
turnovers. Kevin Garnett had 14 points and 13 rebounds, but shot only
7-of-18 and was called for traveling in Charlotte's decisive spurt.And
the NBA's worst offensive team had its second-best scoring night of the
season. Gerald Wallace chipped in with 23 points, but it was Augustin
who hit a 3-pointer and two free throws in a 7-0 run that put Charlotte
ahead 108-101.Augustin even talked some trash at the champs' expense."They
come in and intimidate you and try to punk you,'' Augustin said. "But
if you don't back down from them, they kind of fold.''That would have been laughable before Boston visited the Lakers on Christmas. But Boston was frustrated again at key times.After
Pierce dribbled the ball out of bounds with Charlotte leading by five
in the final minute of OT, Pierce gave Augustin a slight shove, as the
turnover ended Boston's chances in a physical game that saw the Celtics
continue their surprising struggles against one of the Eastern
Conference's worst teams.The Bobcats, despite entering with a
44-72 record over the past two seasons, won in Boston last season. They
lost on Allen's buzzer-beater in another game, and dropped a close
contest in the first meeting this season in November.Tuesday was
another thriller, as the Celtics rallied from a 10-point, third-quarter
deficit, took 79-72 lead in the fourth quarter, then allowed the
Bobcats to get back in it.Felton's fadeaway with 38 seconds left
in regulation put Charlotte ahead 96-95. After Allen missed a jumper,
Felton was fouled and hit only one free throw with 20 seconds left.Pierce
then dribbled off a screen and drilled a turnaround jumper with 3.4
seconds left to tie it. Felton missed a straightaway 20-footer at the
buzzer to force OT.But the Bobcats dominated the extra period,
despite playing again without Raja Bell (groin), getting five straight
defensive stops to pick up one of Brown's biggest wins since taking
over his record ninth NBA team."The one thing I always remember
is when you're a good team, every team you play against is trying to
bring their best game,'' Brown said. "That's a pretty special group
that Boston has. We've got to learn to bring it every night like that
and not just against Boston.''The Celtics were without reserve
guard Tony Allen, who injured his right ankle in Sunday's loss to New
York, and again looked out of sync in a bruising game.As Bobcats
part-owner Michael Jordan sat courtside and spent much of the game
barking at referee Dick Bavetta, there were angry words and blood on
the court.Charlotte's Juwan Howard picked up a flagrant foul for
leveling Glen Davis early in the fourth quarter, leading Davis to play
with cotton in one nostril.Technicals were called on Rivers and Felton, after he confronted Davis following a hard foul away from the ball."We'll
get better,'' Garnett promised. "We're a team of confidence, a team of
character. We're just getting everybody's best shot right now.Notes:
Brown said Bell would also miss Wednesday's game in Cleveland, but
could return Friday in Philadelphia. ... Bobcats F Adam Morrison had 13
points in his best game in a month. ... The Bobcats made 31 of 34 free
throws, with Augustin and Wallace combining to make all 20 attempts.
... Rivers reminisced before the game about playing for Brown and his
complex offensive system in the 1991-92 season with the Clippers. "The
attention to detail. ... It opened my eyes to a lot of stuff,'' said
Rivers, who acknowledged he now makes the same demands on his players
about spacing and setting proper screens.

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