Pierce eyes a legend in Celtics-Bobcats matchup
Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce is on the verge of time scoring list and will lead the surging squad into tonight's showdown versus the lowly Charlotte Bobcats at TD Garden.
Pierce is 10 points shy of passing Larry Bird (21,791) for second on the team's all-time scoring list. John Havlicek has a comfortable spot at the top with 26,395 points. Pierce trimmed the margin with a 21-point effort in Sunday's 98-80 triumph over the Memphis Grizzlies. Kevin Garnett had a season high-tying 24 points and nine rebounds in the recent win.
Ray Allen and Chris Wilcox each netted 12 points for the Celtics, who have won four in a row and eight of their last nine games. The Celtics, owners of a 9-6 mark as the host, also improved to 3-0 on a five-game homestand and will close out the residency Thursday versus the Los Angeles Lakers.
"I just wanted to come out and be aggressive and just give great energy. And that's what I did," said Wilcox, who tallied 10 of his 12 points in the first quarter and also grabbed five boards.
The Celtics had been 0-4 against Western Conference foes. Rajon Rondo had five points and tied a season-high with 14 assists in his second game back since missing eight in a row due to injury.
Not to make excuses for the struggling Bobcats but injuries have taken their toll on the team. Mired in a season-high losing streak of 11 games, Charlotte hopes to close out a four-game road trip tonight in Beantown.
The losing trend continued with Saturday's 95-89 loss at Phoenix, as rookie Kemba Walker had a team-best 22 points and Reggie Williams added 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists in his first start of the season. In his three games played, Williams has averages of 9.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 23.0 minutes.
Boris Diaw finished with 13 points and Bismack Biyombo made his first career start in place of DeSagana Diop, notching 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Bobcats, who have lost 11 in a row for the longest slide since a franchise- record 13-game skid from Jan. 11-Feb. 1, 2006.
"We just missed some shots that we should have made and they came down and executed their offense and they made shots," said Walker, who is averaging 14.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.6 steals in his previous 13 contests. "That's just the way it went in the second half. They really just outplayed us in the fourth quarter."
The Bobcats are only 1-13 as the visitor this season and have lost their last 11 road games. That's the longest road losing streak since Nov. 7, 2007 - Jan. 4, 2008. Charlotte lost 12 straight games away from home Feb. 4-March 19, 2005 and dropped a franchise-high 14 consecutive road games from Jan. 2-Feb. 27, 2006.
On the injury front for Charlotte, guard Gerald Henderson will miss 2-4 weeks of action with a right hamstring strain and forward Corey Maggette is slated to miss that same amount of time because of a strained left hamstring. Point guard D.J. Augustin (toe fracture) is expected to miss 1-2 weeks of action and Diop is listed as questionable Tuesday due to a balky knee. Henderson has scored in double figures in eight of his last nine games played, averaging 17.1 points on .496 shooting during that stretch.
After closing out the road trip in Boston the Bobcats will head home for three straight games versus the Bulls, Clippers and 76ers. The Bobcats haven't won since Jan. 14 versus Golden State and their last road victory was in New York back on Jan. 4.
Charlotte and Boston split four meetings a year ago but the Celtics have prevailed in 10 of the past 14 matchups between the teams. The Bobcats ended a five-game losing streak at TD Garden with an 83-81 victory last March 25. They have still lost 10 of the 13 encounters in Beantown.