CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Gerald Wallace scored 19 points, including the clinching free throws with 3 seconds left, and the Charlotte Bobcats overcame top scorer Stephen Jackson’s ejection to beat the short-handed Boston Celtics 94-89 on Monday night.
Shaun Livingston added a season-high 18 points, little-used Eduardo Najera had a key 3-pointer late, and the Bobcats snapped six-game losing streak to Boston in a testy game that included five technical fouls and yet another emotional outburst by Jackson.
Ray Allen scored 25 points and hit two 3-pointers, leaving him two shy of breaking Reggie Miller’s NBA career record of 2,560. Paul Pierce added 22 points and Kevin Garnett grabbed 14 rebounds for the Celtics, who dressed only 10 players.
Boston, coming off emotional games against powers Dallas and Orlando, ran out of gas in the fourth quarter against Charlotte in a potential first-round playoff preview.
The Bobcats, coming off losses to Miami and Dallas, got contributions from unlikely sources.
Livingston, a backup point guard, played in crunch time over the ineffective D.J. Augustin and took advantage playing against the smaller Rajon Rondo. Najera buried a 3-pointer with 1:57 left to put Charlotte ahead 89-83.
The Celtics got within 90-87 in the final minute, but Pierce missed a layup before Nazr Mohammed hit one of two free throws with 21.7 seconds left.
It appeared to be over then, but Livingston fouled Pierce shooting a 3. He hit two of the three free throws before Wallace put it away at the line.
Gerald Henderson added 15 points while filling in for Jackson at shooting guard.
Jackson, who a day earlier shook off criticism about his collection of technical fouls, was sent to the locker room with 1:38 left in the second quarter when he wouldn’t stop complaining about being called for a foul on Garnett.
Referees Kane Fitzgerald and Mark Ayotte hit him with his 12th and 13th technical fouls before play resumed, handing him his second ejection in a season that’s also included a one-game suspension and a separate $50,000 fine for bad behavior.
Without their top scoring option, Charlotte still stuck around, rallying to take a 79-77 lead on Wallace’s 3-pointer with 6:12 left.
The Celtics had no depth at small forward or center with big man Semih Erden (abductor strain) added to the long injury list on Monday.
He was sidelined along with Shaquille O’Neal (leg), Jermaine O’Neal (knee), Delonte West (wrist) and Marquis Daniels, who bruised his spinal cord in a scary injury Sunday. Boston’s thin bench included Avery Bradley, called up from the NBA Development League earlier Monday.
Fellow rookie Luke Harangody, who was set for a D-League stint until the injuries hit, was forced to play small forward for a good chunk of minutes. The Bobcats also exposed 5-foot-9 Nate Robinson by playing the 6-7 Livingston more. He scored 10 points in the second quarter as the Bobcats took a 51-50 halftime lead that included numerous hard fouls and jawing.
Kwame Brown had to be separated from Kendrick Perkins after Perkins’ hard foul in the second quarter. The scuffle produced technical fouls for Brown and Pierce. Garnett picked up a technical
in the third quarter.
Allen looked to be on pace to break the 3-point record when he buried his first long-range shot 51 seconds in. But his second 3 didn’t come until midway through the third quarter.
They were the only 3s Allen attempted on a 9-of-17 shooting night. Boston shot just 41 percent from the field and was outrebounded 50-37.
Allen will get a chance to break the record Thursday at home against the Los Angeles Lakers — with Miller in town to do color commentary for TNT’s broadcast.
Notes: Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he exchanged text messages with Daniels on Monday and said he’s “doing a lot better” but it’s “going to take a while” before he can play again, possibly forcing the team to make a roster move. … Bobcats coach Paul Silas called Allen one of the greatest shooters in league history,
but said he’d like to see him face off against his former teammate in Seattle, “Downtown” Freddie Brown. … Rivers isn’t concerned with the increased criticism Garnett has received for his behavior. “I think all these people who call them out will take them on their team right now,” he said. … Bradley said he was up at 5 a.m. Monday to catch a flight from North Dakota to Charlotte through Minneapolis. … South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier attended the game as a guest of Rivers.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)