BOSTON (AP) — Paul Pierce scored 27 points to lead the Boston Celtics to a 104-80 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night.
Nate Robinson had 16 points, including three 3-pointers in a 90-second span bridging the first and second quarters to key a 16-0 run, for the Celtics. Kevin Garnett added 12 points as Boston won its second straight and beat up on Charlotte for the third time this season.
Tyrus Thomas had 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Bobcats, losers of five of six, and D.J. Augustin scored 12 points. Charlotte's leading scorers coming in, Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace, were held to a combined 16 points on 5-of-15 shooting.
Pierce, who returned on Tuesday in the Celtics' win over the Pistons after missing three games with a sprained right thumb, scored 13 points in the third quarter to help stretch the Celtics' nine-point halftime lead to 82-61 on his layup to end the quarter.
Boston limited Charlotte to 16 points on 25 percent shooting in the quarter and 29 percent in the second half.
The Celtics defeated the Bobcats 92-59 — Charlotte's lowest point total of the season — at home on opening night, and they won 108-90 in Charlotte on Dec. 1.
The Bobcats trailed 37-21 after the Celtics' big early run. However, Charlotte took advantage of five Boston turnovers later in the quarter to pull to 42-41 on a reverse layup by Stephen Graham. The Celtics finished off the half with a 12-4 run to take a 54-45 lead into the break.
NOTES: Pierce passed Terry Cummings to move into 40th on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Rajon Rondo, who tied a Celtics record with seven straight games of seven or more assists, had that streak snapped. He finished with eight points and six assists. Kendrick Perkins was back after missing the Celtics' game against the Pistons with flu-like symptoms. It was the first game he missed this season. He finished with eight points. Injuries continue to decimate the Bobcats frontcourt. Tyson Chandler (sore left foot, ankle) and DeSagana Diop (right MCL sprain) each missed their seventh straight contest and Nazr Mohammed, out with back spasms, missed his fifth consecutive game.
(This version CORRECTS Celtics 104, Bobcats 80; corrects dateline.)