BOSTON — The surging Boston Celtics blew an 18-point, second-quarter lead but still managed to earn their sixth consecutive win Monday night, a 100-89 decision over the lowly Charlotte Bobcats.
Playing the third game of a season-high, five-game homestand, the Celtics (20-17) got Rajon Rondo’s third triple-double of the season and the 26th of his career to move to three games over .500, matching their best mark of the season.
The loss was the fifth in the past six games and the 23rd in the past 25 games for the Bobcats (9-28).
Rondo had 17 points (capped by a highlight-reel drive), 10 rebounds and 12 assists, and the Celtics used a 9-0 run in the fourth quarter to finally subdue the Bobcats.
Boston’s Paul Pierce had 19 points, despite going 2-for-8 from 3-point range. He also contributed six assists. Avery Bradley scored 16 points, thanks largely to four 3-pointers. Jeff Green scored all 11 of his points in the second quarter.
Bradley, playing in his seventh game after coming back from two shoulder surgeries, was 4-for-19 from 3-point range coming into the game, but he went 4-for-7 from behind the arc against Charlotte.
Hakim Warrick and Ramon Sessions led the Bobcats with 16 points apiece, while rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 10 points and eight rebounds in the loss.
It was the third straight game the Celtics blew a double-digit lead; they’ve won all three.
Charlotte, which never led, trailed 50-32 with 4 1/2 minutes left in the first half. The Bobcats scored the last three points of the half to close to within 11.
The visitors then scored the first nine and 13 of the first 15 points of the second half, tying the game at 58-58 with 8:16 left in the third quarter. The Celtics scored seven straight points to regain the lead.
Rondo was credited with assists on Boston’s first four baskets and had nine points, six rebounds and five assists in the first quarter. The Celtics went on an early 11-0 run for a 13-2 lead.
A flagrant foul by Charlotte’s Gerald Henderson on Kevin Garnett in the second quarter angered the Celtics forward, who pointed at Henderson. Cooler heads prevailed. Soon after, Charlotte’s Kemba Walker picked up a technical for arguing a non-call, and Bobcats guard Ben Gordon got called for a technical late in the game.
Walker was just 4-for-16 and Gordon 5-for-14 from the floor.
NOTES: The Celtics held their annual Seats For Soldiers Night, which included season ticket holders donating over 1,200 seats to service men and women and their families. Boston big man Chris Wilcox held a video conference with soldiers in Afghanistan before the game and the Kandahar base was shown on the video screen during an early timeout. … Wilcox, out since Dec. 18 with a thumb injury, has returned to practice as he makes his way back and was seated on the bench in uniform. He could play Wednesday night. … Celtics coach Doc Rivers sat in coach Bill Belichick’s box for Sunday’s Patriots playoff win over Houston and said he is a superstitious fan. “I was in his box, sitting in the same seat, wearing the same thing and all that stuff,” Rivers said. “When I watch other teams I like, I do the same stuff, turn the beer labels the same and all that stuff.” … Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski was at Monday night’s game. … Rivers coaches against his son, Austin, for the first time when the New Orleans Hornets visit Wednesday. … Charlotte’s two wins in its last 24 games coming in were both on the road, at Chicago and Detroit, the latter in overtime Jan. 6. The Bobcats haven’t won at home since Nov. 21, losing their last 12. They host the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night. … His offseason acquisitions starting to pan out, Celtics GM Danny Ainge says he is happy with his current roster and doesn’t see anything big happening before the Feb. 21 trade deadline. “The reason the team is winning is because each individual player has stepped up their intensity and the commitment on the defensive end,” Ainge said Sunday.