With Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen back in Boston resting one night after the Celtics clinched a playoff berth, Boston found a way to beat the lowly Bobcats, 94-82, Sunday night in Charlotte. Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley each had 22 points while Rajon Rondo had 20 points and 16 assists to pick up the slack. All 11 players who dressed scored for the Celtics, who are now a half-game up on Atlanta for home court in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
The Celtics also dropped their magic number for clinching the Atlantic Division to three games. Any combination of Celtics wins and losses by Philadelphia will give Boston its fifth straight Atlantic Division title.
Allen was home resting his sore ankle, which has caused him to miss the last four games, while Pierce was resting his foot, which was stepped on in the fourth quarter of Saturday's win over the Nets. Garnett was just getting a night off.
The Celtics raced out to a 34-23 lead after one quarter, only to see the Bobcats outscore the Celtics, 26-18, in the second, cutting the lead down to 52-49 at the half.
Bradley scored 10 of his 22 points in the third as the Celtics built a 73-67 lead going into the fourth.
The Bobcats cut the lead to 78-74 with six minutes left but Avery Bradley nailed a baseline 3-pointer keying a 16-8 run to end the game.
The Celtics finished their stretch of three road games in three nights with two straight wins and improve to a season-high 11 games over .500 at 36-25. They finish their four-game road trip with a game Tuesday night in New York against the Knicks before returning home Wednesday to take on the Magic at TD Garden.
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