Celtics 104, Bobcats 84

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BOSTON (AP)—Antoine Walker is doing his best to take full advantage of his second chance with the Boston Celtics.

Walker and Ricky Davis each scored 18 points, and Gary Payton added 10 in his return to Boston’s lineup Friday night, leading the Celtics to a 104-84 victory over the expansion Charlotte Bobcats.

Marcus Banks scored 13 points, Mark Blount had 11, and Delonte West added 11 points and eight assists for Boston, 4-0 since Walker returned to the team last week in a trade with Atlanta.

“This is probably the most talented team I’ve had play with me in Boston,” said Walker, who also had eight rebounds. “How many games have you seen in my career where Paul (Pierce) can take only four shots and we win by 20 points?”

Payton, who re-signed Friday after being waived by Atlanta on Tuesday, played 21 minutes. He was traded to the Hawks—along with Tom Gugliotta, Michael Stewart and a future first-round pick—last week in the deal that brought Walker back to Boston.

Payton scored six points during a 13-5 run late in the second quarter that gave Boston a 56-41 lead.

“I like our team. I like who we are,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said. “I like our spirit right now and I’m literally just trying to stay out of the way of that.”

Returning to New England for the second time this season, Bobcats rookie Emeka Okafor had 12 points and 10 rebounds. The former University of Connecticut star had six points and 11 rebounds against the Celtics on Nov. 12.

“We couldn’t find a flow, couldn’t get in a rhythm,” he said.

Jason Hart scored 13 points and Keith Bogans had 11 for the Bobcats, 4-23 in


Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney attended the game. … Bobcats shooting guard Kareem Rush will miss four to six weeks after spraining his left knee Wednesday night. Fellow guard Brevin Knight did not return after sprained his right ankle in the first quarter. … Celtics guard Tony Allen missed his third straight game because of a sprained ankle. … The Celtics are 18-5 when they hold opponents under 100 points.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
K. Bogans K. Bogans
4-8,  11 Pts
6 Rebs, 6 Assists
A. Walker A. Walker
7-12,  18 Pts
8 Rebs, 3 Assists

Team Stat Leaders