CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte Bobcats have the NBA's worst record, but there's something about the Boston Celtics that brings out the best in them.
The Bobcats routed the Celtics 100-74 on Tuesday night to break a 10-game losing streak, for their second victory over Boston in the past four weeks.
Gerald Henderson led the way with a career-high 35 points and Ben Gordon scored 17, as the Bobcats outscored the Celtics 51-28 in the second half and led by as many as 28 in the fourth quarter.
The Bobcats, who also beat the Celtics 94-91 at Time Warner Cable Arena on Feb. 11, are now 14-50. They had lost 18 of their previous 20 before Tuesday night.
"It feels great," Henderson said. "It's been a tough season. The toughest thing is just coming in here every day, practicing hard, going through shoot-around and watching film and stuff and it not really translating into wins, really showing itself. So it feels great any time we win."
Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap was careful with his words afterward, mindful that the teams will meet again in Boston on Saturday.
"I just think we caught them at the right time," Dunlap said. "We play them again this week and they'll want to take care of that in their own way. I'm just grateful for tonight. We've been out in the desert for a 10-game streak here. Ten losses seems like forever. So I'm just happy that the guys can sleep soundly tonight and we can get this all behind us."
Rivers gave the Bobcats credit for simply out-hustling and out-working the Celtics.
"They play really hard," Rivers said. "Every time I watch them, you look at their record and you've got to give Mike a lot of credit. They played so hard and we just honestly couldn't match how hard they played tonight, for whatever reason, and that's on me. They were so much more competitive than us the entire night. It felt like we had a Band-Aid on a dam in the first half, and then the second half it came open."
The Celtics, who fell to 34-29, played without leading scorer Paul Pierce, after Rivers made a decision to give his star a night of rest. But Rivers wasn't second-guessing himself for resting Pierce afterward.
"I'm glad I did it, because otherwise he would have been a part of this too," Rivers said. "What I was thinking was I wish I would have given Kevin (Garnett) the night off so we would have two guys rested. We just laid an egg. I just thought we approached the game with the wrong mentality. We were really cool tonight, and then I thought everyone kinda thought they were going to take up for Paul's points instead of coming into the game with the right mentality where you grind and you move the ball. You could see it early on. Our guys were like, 'Let's just trade baskets.'"
Garnett wound up playing 20 minutes and finished 2-for-10 from the field for five points and two rebounds. Jeff Green started in Pierce's place and scored 14. The Celtics also got 14 points from Jordan Crawford and 10 each from Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass.
Henderson was 11 of 19 from the field and a perfect 12 of 12 from the free-throw line. He had 21 points in the first half.
"He looked at whoever was guarding him and said, 'I'm better than you,' and then he proved it," Rivers said.
Henderson also downplayed his career high.
"I just wanted to come out and be as aggressive as possible, and we got into a real good flow early on," he said.
The Bobcats also got 13 points and 10 rebounds from Josh McRoberts and 10 points from Kemba Walker.
NOTES: The Bobcats hadn't won by more than 20 points since January of 2010. ... The Celtics were starting their 17th back-to-back set of the season on Tuesday night, with Toronto at home to follow on Wednesday. They are just 7-10 on the first night of back-to-backs. ... Charlotte's Byron Mullens exited in the third quarter with a lower-back strain. ... The Celtics are now 14-6 since losing Rajon Rondo for the rest of the season with a torn ACL in his right knee. The Celtics also remain without Jared Sullinger following lumbar disc surgery. ... The Bobcats expect to miss Ramon Sessions another two weeks at least with a sprained MCL in his left knee. ... The Bobcats will hit the road next for a game at Toronto on Friday.