The Charlotte Bobcats brought the pain to the Boston Celtics and defended their home court excellently with a 94-91 victory that was spurned by a breakout game from center Byron Mullens. He is starting to build his case as a legitimate big man for the Bobcats; a team sorely lacking any presence inside outside of Mullens and with the worst frontcourt in the game.
But yesterday, the Bobcats frontcourt barely out-rebounded the Celtics and even out-scored them by two in the paint. Mullens had a monstrous double-double with 25 points, 18 rebounds, and even four assists on 10-16 shooting. There’s no question that Mullens was the MVP of this game, and he was the main reason why the Bobcats were able to deal the Celtics their first loss since Rajon Rondo’s devastating, season-ending injury.
Speaking of terrible injury, Boston lost another quality guard in key veteran Leandro Barbosa. He will undergo an MRI today after a left knee injury, and we can only hope Barbosa is okay. The Celtics have already dealt with more than enough injuries this season.
The 27-24 Celtics have played in 51 games this season, and Paul Pierce now has had double digits in scoring in 50 of those games. That’s incredible and speaks to the consistency of one of the greatest players in the team’s rich franchise history. Pierce had a 13-8-8 line in the loss, and fellow star veteran Kevin Garnett also had a valiant losing effort with a 16-13-3-2 (blocks) line.
Charlotte gave top rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist an easy night, as the Kentucky Wildcats alumn only participated in 15 minutes of action. Ramon Sessions took care of the scoring with a terrific night off the bench that saw him put up 19 points on an efficient 6-11 line. Kemba Walker wasn’t quite as efficient, but he filled up the stat sheet with an 18-6-6-3 line. Walker impressed several Celtics fans with his ability to break the opponent’s ankles with some sick crossovers.
The Bobcats shot 44.4% from three for the night, but they were also a putrid 20-30 from the free throw line. For as good as Mullens was, he made just one of four free throws shots. But the Bobcats did a great job in beating the Celtics, and it’s definitely a great win to put on the team’s resume that includes just 12 wins to this point. The Bobcats were down by six at the half, but then they had a big third quarter in which they out-scored the C’s 33-24.
This is what Bobcats head coach Mike Dunlap said about Mullens’s incredible performance, “Byron was as good as you can get in the NBA statistically in many ways. He’s still young. He’s growing. … He’s a different player because he was able to take a rest. He’s got live legs and he’s able to see the game.”
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