Glen Davis and Ray Allen finish with 16 points each, while Kevin Garnett records a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. But the story of this game is the defense — the C's suffocate the Bobcats all night long, never giving them a chance.
Nazr Mohammed leads the Bobcats with 14 points. The 'Cats get nothing from their perimeter shooters all night long.
The Celtics have now won 10 straight games and sit at 19-4 on the season. They now have the next three days off before heading to New York, where they'll take on the Knicks in an anticipated Wednesday night tilt.
Fourth quarter, 2:23, Celtics, 82-57: Doc Rivers finally empties his bench, giving the rookies Avery Bradley and Luke Harangody a little run in the final few minutes of the blowout win.
Good to see Doc give the youngsters their turn. Let's see if they've got any flashes of brilliance in them.
Fourth quarter, 5:37, Celtics, 80-55: Nate Robinson, folks — instant offense. The Celtics push their lead from 19 to 25 in a hurry, getting back-to-back deep 3s from the little man.
Now you can stick a fork in the Bobcats. Hello, 10-game winning streak.
Fourth quarter, 7:03, Celtics, 72-53: Glen Davis just knocked down a smooth corner jumper to push the lead to 19. He's now got 16 points, matching Ray Allen with a team high.
No one's done more with less tonight than Baby. Not many minutes, not many touches, hardly any plays called for him, but the kid keeps producing.
Doc Rivers is keeping the pressure on for the moment. It's not garbage time just yet.
Fourth quarter, 9:11, Celtics, 67-51: Von Wafer has zero points and two fouls. He hasn't been the offensive sparkplug Doc Rivers was hoping for.
In an ideal world, Wafer would fill in for the injured Delonte West this season as a solid combo guard on both ends. That hasn't worked out yet, but the C's remain optimistic going forward.
End of third quarter, Celtics, 64-47: A wise man once said your team's only as good as your best player. Charlotte's best player is Gerald Wallace, and Wallace is 2-for-12 from the field. That explains a lot.
The horrendous offensive performance continues for the Bobcats, who are on pace to score about 62 points when all's said and done. The Bobcats aren't executing, they aren't moving the ball, and they can't hit a shot to save their lives.
If the Celtics can keep defending for 12 more minutes, they're on their way to win No. 10.
Third quarter, Celtics, 2:24, 58-43: Talk about efficient. Glen Davis now has 11 points in 16 minutes.
Big Baby might have expected to see big minutes in this one, but Semih Erden has stayed out of foul trouble for a change, and Baby has spent plenty of time on the bench watching him work.
Third quarter, Celtics, 3:39, 56-41: …aaaaaand, Ray Allen drills another 3. He's quietly snuck up on the Bobcats with 14 points.
That's what Ray does. Every time you get within striking distance, he knocks down the big shot to drive the dagger through your heart.
Third quarter, Celtics, 6:05, 53-37: The Celtics just buried the Bobcats with another 9-0 run, capped off by a long jumper from Kevin Garnett. They're in total control now.
KG's got himself another double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. He's been cranking them out at a ridiculous pace this season — that's No. 11 on the season.
Third quarter, Celtics, 7:13, 51-37: Rajon Rondo just found KG at the basket for a completely uncontested alley-oop.
Nice play from the C's, but it makes you wonder where the Bobcats' heads are at defensively. They keep taking possessions off.
This should be where Larry Brown talks some sense into his guys. Their focus just isn't there in this one.
Third quarter, Celtics, 9:11, 46-37: Gerald Wallace came out firing in the third quarter, nailing a 3 early to give the Bobcats some momentum.
The 'Cats will need hot jump shooters to get back into this game. That means the onus will be on Pierce and Allen to defend the wings and deny them anything easy.
Halftime, Celtics 42-32: If the Celtics keep defending like that, their winning streak won't just hit 10. Think 30.
After a thoroughly dominating defensive effort in the first half, the C's have a double-digit lead over the host Bobcats. The 'Cats are shooting 37.8 percent, they have eight turnovers, and they've grabbed only two offensive rebounds. They're getting killed.
Kevin Garnett and Glen Davis lead the Celtics with nine points each; KG has had a monster half all around, adding eight rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block. He's well on his way to yet another double-double.
Nazr Mohammed leads the way for Charlotte with 12 points and four boards.
Second quarter, 2:47, Celtics 35-26: Stephen Jackson looks frustrated, and with good reason. He's now got three turnovers.
The Bobcats are doing a lot of things wrong offensively — it's not just bad shooting. They're executing poorly, they're turning the ball over, and they're not getting offensive boards or second-chance points.
In other words, the Celtics' defensive effort has been really suffocating.
Second quarter, 4:34, Celtics 30-23: Ray Allen just got to the line and connected on two free throws. Those are his first two points of the game.
The C's are still working on getting their wing scorers going. They've gotten most of their offense in this game from their post guys.
Gerald Wallace is a scrappy defender. He's doing everything in his power to limit the Celtics' shooters.
Second quarter, 6:26, Celtics 26-21: Nazr Mohammed was a beast for the Bobcats in the first quarter, but the Celtics have slowed him down considerably. He hasn't gotten a shot off this quarter.
Mohammed is like Shaq — really strong in small doses, but can't play big minutes and can't sustain the high-energy play.
Meanwhile, the Celtics' bigs are dominating with energy. Semih isn't the strongest, and Big Baby isn't the longest, but both guys are crashing the boards and outworking the Bobcats.
Second quarter, 8:51, Celtics 24-21: The Celtics are running into a familiar problem with their second unit — no one besides Glen Davis can get anything going offensively.
Someone's got to emerge as a second option for this group. Nate Robinson has been too streaky, Von Wafer hasn't found a rhythm all season, and Marquis Daniels is fundamentally solid but too passive.
Who will step up?
Second quarter, 10:49, Celtics 22-17: The Celtics' second unit is looking shaky early — three quick fouls in the opening minute of the quarter, and a careless Nate Robinson turnover to boot.
Doc Rivers needs a quick timeout. He needs to get this unit to play smart basketball together.
End of first quarter, Celtics 20-16: Key stat at the end of the first quarter: rebounds. The C's outrebound the Bobcats 15-8 in the opening frame, getting multiple boards from six different guys. KG and Rondo have three each.
If the Celtics keep that up, they're in great shape. And it would be impressive if they did — the C's are sorely lacking in size at the moment, but they're winning this game with energy.
Rajon Rondo has five points, four assists and a steal along with the three boards. Stephen Jackson has been a powerhouse so far for Charlotte — he's got six points, five assists, two rebounds and a steal.
First quarter, 2:10, Celtics 18-14: Semih Erden may have started this game at center, but Glen Davis will end up with starter's minutes. He deserves them.
Davis has been a really versatile scorer for the C's in Shaq's absence, getting good looks from the perimeter while also using his strength to plow to the basket. He's a tough matchup for the Bobcats' bigs.
8-0 run for the Celtics now. Will they look back?
First quarter, 3:56, Bobcats 14-13: All right, Bobcats, look out. Rajon Rondo is starting to turn it on.
First Rondo gets to the basket for a driving layup in transition; then on the following play, he gets to the basket again and dishes to Glen Davis. Wham, bam, three-point play. The C's are back to within one.
The Bobcats don't have the athleticism to keep up with Rondo. He's got to run, run, run, all night long.
First quarter, 6:09, Bobcats 10-8: Kevin Garnett is 3-for-4 from the field. The rest of the Celtics combined are 1-for-7.
The C's have yet to get anything going from the perimeter. Credit the Bobcats' defense — Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson are working hard to deny the C's wings open looks.
First quarter, 7:29, Bobcats 10-6: Nazr Mohammed is 33 years old. If you haven't been watching the Bobcats this season, you're probably surprised to hear he's still in the league.
But Mohammed is lighting the Celtics up early. He's got six points, all off of relatively uncontested jumpers.
Semih Erden wasn't expecting a tough defense matchup in this one, but the old man is making him work.
First quarter, 9:17, Bobcats 6-2: The Celtics get their first basket from their only non-All-Star on the floor, Semih Erden.
For two teams that generate so much offense with their wing guys, both teams have been slow to get their perimeter game going. Still not a peep out of Paul Pierce or Ray Allen for the men in green.
First quarter, 10:39, Bobcats 4-0: Not a good start for the Celtics — Boris Diaw and Nazr Mohammed each knock down a jumper in the opening minute, putting the C's in an early four-point hole. Kevin Garnett and Semih Erden have each missed a half-hearted jumper attempt.
Doc Rivers has to preach ball movement early. The C's game plan is all about efficient offense.
5:30 p.m.: For the second consecutive game, the Celtics will be without starting center Shaquille O'Neal.
While Shaq recovers slowly from a bit of calf pain, Semih Erden will step in again at center — the Turkish rookie played 18 minutes in his first NBA start on Thursday, finishing with eight points and three rebounds.
The C's will be thin up front without both of their O'Neals. Erden and Glen Davis will both likely see big minutes.
11:00 a.m.: Doc Rivers talked about Thursday night's win over the Philadelphia 76ers like a kid who'd stolen a cookie from the cookie jar. "Guilty" wasn't strong enough a word.
The Celtics got outhustled, outworked, outplayed. They didn't deserve a win, but at the last second they stole it.
The C's winning streak survived with a last-second win Thursday, as Kevin Garnett nailed a game-winning layup off of a perfect lob pass from Rajon Rondo. They've now won nine straight games, but they're not exactly celebrating.
Thursday helped the C's realize how fragile their streak can be. They'll look to get back to playing the right way Saturday, when they visit the Charlotte Bobcats. If all goes well, there will be no need for last-second heroics.