CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Byron Mullens had 25 points and 18 rebounds, and the Charlotte Bobcats defeated Boston 94-91 Monday night to snap the Celtics’ seven-game winning streak.
Kevin Garnett had 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Celtics, but missed a key 18-footer that would have given Boston the lead late in the game. Paul Pierce and Avery Bradley had chances to send the game into overtime in the final seconds, but missed open 3-pointers.
The 7-foot Mullens hit 10 of 16 shots from the field, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range. Ramon Sessions had 19 points for the Bobcats, including the go-ahead jumper from 18 feet with 25.7 seconds left. Kemba Walker had 18 points, six assists and six rebounds, and Gerald Henderson chipped in with 16 points.
Jeff Green had 18 points for the Celtics and Paul Pierce finished with 13 points, eight assists and eight rebounds.
It was a back-and-forth game throughout.
After Henderson gave the Bobcats an 85-84 lead with 3:58 remaining, Jason Terry made a 3 from the wing and Garnett followed with a turnaround jumper in the lane to push the Boston lead to four.
It appeared as though the Bobcats were on their way to another fourth quarter collapse.
But trailing by four, Henderson hit a 3-point with 1:01 left. After Avery Bradley missed an open jumper, Sessions came free off a screen and knocked down an 18-footer to give the Bobcats the lead with 25.7 seconds remaining.
The Celtics called timeout but Garnett missed an 18-footer from the left wing. Mullens grabbed his 18th rebound and the Walker made a pair of key free throws to give the Bobcats a three-point lead with 14.8 seconds left.
Boston set up an inbounds play and Pierce got an open look but missed. He grabbed his own rebound and dished out to the wing for Bradley, but he missed a 3 as time expired.
Despite coming off a triple-overtime win against Denver on Sunday night, the Celtics came out of the gates strong with solid shooting and aggressive defense to take a 48-42 lead at halftime.
As he’d planned to do before the game, coach Doc Rivers went deep into his bench in the first half with 10 players seeing at least 10 minutes of action.
The Bobcats battled back in the third quarter behind 12 points from Mullens to take a 75-72 lead into the fourth. Mullens, who scored Charlotte’s first 10 points of the game, did most of his damage from outside, knocking down 3-pointers and turnaround jumpers showing great touch for a big man.
Celtics reserve guard Leandro Barbosa injured his left knee late in the third quarter and did not return. He was carried to the locker room by a trainer and teammate after collapsing near the baseline.