“The players were pretty loud when we went in there,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said. “It wasn’t a pleasant speech at halftime. It didn’t need to be.”
Although the Celtics played tougher D in the second half, they still needed Raef LaFrentz and Antoine Walker to combine for three 3-pointers in the final 1:32 to lead them to a 119-110 victory over the Bobcats on Monday night.
The Celtics went up by 15 in the first quarter, only to allow the Bobcats to score 40 points in the second quarter. After shooting 76 percent in the first half, the Celtics went into halftime tied at 68.
“That scared the heck out of me,” Rivers said.
Walker finished with 25 points to lead the Celtics to their fourth straight victory and a four-game season sweep of the Bobcats. Boston has won eight of nine games since reacquiring Walker in a trade with Atlanta last month.
“Right now we are playing good basketball and at a high energy level and we are trying to make a run for this Atlantic Division title,” said Walker. “We played a good game. We just didn’t play good defense.”
But after the win, the Celtics were still finding fault with their performance.
“The way the first quarter was going, I thought I was going to be able to rest in the fourth quarter,” Pierce said. “When you play around with teams like this, you make it into a dog fight, but it was good for us because you can learn from these types of games and teams.”
Matt Carroll, a guard signed from the NBDL last month, scored 18 points to lead the Bobcats, who lost their seventh straight game. Jason Kapono added 17, and Emeka Okafor, Brevin Knight and Keith Bogans had 16 each.
It was a contentious game, with five technical fouls called, including consecutive calls on Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff that forced him to the locker room with more than 10 minutes to play in the game.
Boston led just 93-89 when Bickerstaff was kicked out, but the Bobcats missed on six consecutive possessions and the Celtics pulled away. Davis, who started his career in Charlotte as a Hornet, hit a 3-pointer and a jumper for a 100-89 lead.
“I don’t know if I’m paranoid … I just want my guys, when they go to war, to get the same calls,” Bickerstaff said. “I have no gripe with the calls against us.”
Long before Bickerstaff’s technical, Knight was called for one and was so angry, he had to be restrained by all four of his teammates on the floor. Bickerstaff took him out of the game, and the two had a heated exchange.
Knight was still upset as he headed to his seat at the end of the bench, stopping to yell at an assistant coach. Knight later said he was reacting to a comment made by an official he didn’t identify.
“He made comments that were totally outside the game,” Knight said. “Ask him, he knows what he said … I was defending myself.”
The Bobcats are interested in re-signing Knight, who went to Charlotte’s training camp with a non-guarenteed one-year contract. … Pierce was selected the NBA Player of the Week before the game. … Charlotte is looking at several coastal Carolina sites to hold training camp.