April 26, 2018
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Bobcats knock off weary Celtics

By The Sports Xchange, Special to the BDN

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Ramon Sessions hit a 17-footer with 25.7 seconds remaining for the go-ahead basket, and Kemba Walker tacked on two free throws with 13 seconds left to give the Charlotte Bobcats a 94-91 victory over the weary Boston Celtics on Monday night.

The Celtics, who went three overtimes to beat Denver 118-114 in Boston on Sunday, had their seven-game winning streak snapped.

The Bobcats scored the last seven points of the game after the Celtics took a 91-87 lead with 2:15 remaining on a fall-away shot by Kevin Garnett.

Gerald Henderson started the comeback with a 3-pointer with 1:01 remaining, cutting the Boston lead to 91-90. After the Celtics’ Avery Bradley missed a shot, Sessions came back to nail a wide-open jumper for a 92-91 Charlotte lead.

Boston had two chances to tie in the closing seconds, but Paul Pierce and Bradley both missed 3-point attempts.

The victory snapped a seven-game losing streak for the Bobcats (12-39).

Byron Mullens led the Bobcats with 25 points and 18 rebounds. Sessions scored 19, Walker scored 18, and Henderson 16.

Jeff Green led Boston (27-24) with 18 points. Garnett had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Pierce finished with 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

The Celtics led 26-24 after one quarter and 48-42 at halftime, but the Bobcats took a 75-72 lead into the fourth quarter.

NOTES: The Celtics’ triple-overtime win over Denver on Sunday was the team’s ninth overtime game of the season, and the fourth that has gone two or more overtimes. The Celtics are 5-4 in those nine games, including 3-1 in games that have gone two or more overtimes. … Pierce played 54:11 against Denver, and Garnett, Terry, Green and Avery Bradley all played more than 40 minutes. … Pierce’s 27 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists against Denver were good for his second triple-double of the season, and also made him the oldest player in NBA history to finish with at least 20 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists in a game. The 15-year veteran’s birth date is Oct. 13, 1977. … The Celtics’ winning streak was preceded by a six-game losing streak, and prior to that was a six-game winning streak. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that makes the Celtics the first team in NBA history to sandwich winning streaks of six or more games around a six-game losing streak. … Rajon Rondo missed his eighth straight game after tearing the ACL in his right knee, and Jared Sullinger missed his sixth straight following lumbar disc surgery. … Rondo had 17 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds when the Celtics beat the Bobcats 100-89 on Jan. 14 in the only previous game between the teams this season. … The teams will meet twice more, March 12 in Charlotte and March 16 at Boston. … The Bobcats have used 11 different starting lineups this season and five of the combinations have not produced a single win. … The Celtics will return home to face Chicago on Wednesday, and the Bobcats will play at Indiana on Wednesday.

Clippers 107, 76ers 90: Chris Paul had 21 points, 11 assists and five steals Monday night, and the Los Angeles Clippers closed out an eight-game road trip with a 107-90 rout of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford added 20 points apiece for the Pacific Division-leading Clippers (37-17). Los Angeles won its second straight to close out the long trip — made necessary by the presentation of the Grammy Awards at the Staples Center — with a 4-4 mark.

Griffin also collected nine rebounds and five assists.

Ex-Clipper Nick Young finished with 29 points to pace the Sixers (22-28), who lost for the second time in three games.

Paul, playing his third game after missing 12 with a bruised right kneecap, notched 10 of his points in the game’s first 8:33, helping Los Angeles breeze to a 26-12 lead. After the Sixers crept within 41-29 early in the second quarter, the Clippers scored 15 of the half’s last 19 points to go up 56-33 at the break.

In all, Los Angeles outscored the Sixers 26-11 in the quarter.

Paul had 12 points, seven assists and three steals in the half, and the Clippers shot a robust 62.9 percent from the floor. Crawford scored 11 in the half.

Los Angeles pushed its lead to 88-59 after three quarters. Griffin scored 12 points in the period, two on a thunderous left-handed dunk off Paul’s pick-and-roll feed, on which he was fouled by Spencer Hawes. Griffin then missed the free throw, but DeAndre Jordan slammed the ball home.

Neither Paul nor Griffin played in the final quarter, when the Clippers pushed their lead to 32.

Matt Barnes had 11 points and Eric Bledsoe 10 for Los Angeles, which shot 58.7 percent overall.

Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner scored 10 points each for the Sixers, though each of them shot 4-for-14 from the floor. Jeremy Pargo also scored 10 for Philadelphia, shooting 4-for-12.

NOTES: Sixers center Andrew Bynum, who has yet to play this season because of bone bruises to both knees, said before the game he experienced a lot of pain in the left knee after working out two consecutive days on the court. While he stopped short of calling that a setback, he did say he is uncertain as to when he will be able to return, after saying last week that he hoped to be back by the end of the month. … The Clippers’ Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler did not play because of sore backs. … Sixers coach Doug Collins, on his team’s struggles: “I thought we were going to be a better shooting team, and we just don’t get to the free-throw line.” The Sixers began the night with just 801 attempts at the line, fewest in the league.


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