May 25, 2018
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Celtics pull away from Bobcats for second straight victory

Sam Sharpe | USA Today Sports
Sam Sharpe | USA Today Sports
Charlotte Bobcats forward Josh McRoberts (11) and Boston Celtics forward Gerald Wallace (45) fight for the ball during the second half of the game at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C., Monday night.
By John Delong, The Sports Xchange

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Guard Jordan Crawford scored 21 points, hitting four 3-pointers in the first three quarters and then six free throws in the final minute, as the Boston Celtics beat the Charlotte Bobcats 96-86 on Monday night.

The Celtics (6-10) pulled away thanks to a 9-0 run to open the fourth quarter and went on to lead by as many as 12 down the stretch. It was Boston’s second straight win and was payback for a loss to the Bobcats in Boston earlier this month.

The Celtics also got 17 points from forward and former Bobcat Gerald Wallace. Forward Brandon Bass scored 16, forward Jeff Green 13 and guard Courtney Lee 11. The Celtics wound up 9 of 20 from three-point range, with Crawford going 4 of 6.

Guard Kemba Walker led the Bobcats with 28 points on 11 of 17 shooting. Guard Gerald Henderson scored 20 and center Al Jefferson had 14. But Charlotte, which fell to 7-8, got just 15 points from its bench.

Charlotte led by as many as 10 in the first quarter and settled for a 21-14 lead after one. Boston then went on a 17-2 run to open the second quarter and built a 47-38 lead at halftime. The lead grew to 11 early in the third quarter before the Bobcats came back to tie, and Boston eventually took a 68-66 lead into the fourth before using that 9-0 run to pull away.

NOTES: The Bobcats were coming off a 96-72 win at Milwaukee on Saturday night, their biggest victory margin of the season. It was just the second time all season that the team has led wire to wire. … The Celtics were coming off a 94-87 win at Atlanta on Saturday night that snapped a six-game losing streak. … Celtics C Kelly Olynyk will miss about two weeks with a sprained right ankle, while G Rajon Rondo (torn ACL right knee) and G Keith Bogans (ill) remain out indefinitely. … Bobcats C Brendan Haywood (stress fracture left foot) is out for about two months. … The Bobcats came into the game ranked third in the NBA in scoring defense, yielding just 91.6 ppg. The 72 points allowed at Milwaukee were the third-fewest in franchise history. … Bobcats F Josh McRoberts ranks sixth in the NBA in assists per turnover at 3.4. … The Celtics were closing out a two-game Southern trip and will return home to face Memphis on Wednesday. … The Bobcats were opening a three-game homestand. They’ll play Indiana on Wednesday and Milwaukee on Friday. … The teams will meet just three times this season, with Game 3 set for April 11 in Boston.

Pacers 98, ’Wolves 84

INDIANAPOLIS — Guard George Hill scored a season-high 26 points to help the Indiana Pacers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 98-84 on Monday night.

Forward Paul George also scored 26 points and forward David West added 13 points for the Pacers (13-1), who won their fourth straight and improved on their franchise-best start.

Minnesota forward Kevin Love had 20 points and 17 rebounds, but he made just 6 of 20 field goals. Guard Kevin Martin scored 18 points and center Nikola Pekovic had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves (8-8), who got off to a fast start this season but now have lost four of five.

The Pacers got the best of the battle of wills. Indiana entered the game leading the league in scoring defense and field-goal percentage defense while the Timberwolves were third in scoring. Minnesota had season lows in points and field goal percentage (.326).

The Pacers shot 50 percent from the field in the first half but led just 48-46. Hill scored 18 points while Love had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Guard Lance Stephenson was scoreless in the first half, but he scored six points early in the third quarter to help the Pacers take a 58-52 lead.

Minnesota rallied and took the lead on free throws by Martin. George drove and was fouled, and the call drew a standing ovation from a frustrated home crowd that had seen a large disparity in foul calls and free throw attempts in Minnesota’s favor up to that point.

George made both free throws, then he got into the open court after a steal and threw down a wicked cradle dunk. Shortly thereafter, he hit West with a behind-the-back pass for an assist and a 71-66 lead. The Pacers led 73-68 at the end of the period.

George opened the fourth quarter with a baseline dunk then scored on a floater to expand the lead to nine.

Minnesota went scoreless for the first 4 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter, but when the Timberwolves finally scored, George answered with a 3-pointer. Center Ian Mahinmi followed with a three-point play to give Indiana an 85-70 lead and the Pacers cruised from there.


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