BOSTON (AP) — Al Jefferson had 22 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Charlotte Bobcats to an 89-83 victory over Boston on Wednesday night that snapped the Celtics’ four-game winning streak.
Gerald Henderson had 13 points, Jeff Taylor 12 and Anthony Tolliver 11 for Charlotte, which ended a two-game skid.
Jeff Green led Boston with 19 points and Jordan Crawford had 16 points and six assists.
Both teams were without key big men. Celtics forward Jared Sullinger was out with a bruised right knee and Bobcats forward Josh McRoberts missed the game for personal reasons. He’s expected to play Friday night in Cleveland.
It was Bobcats coach Steve Clifford’s second game back after two stents were placed in his heart last week.
One of the biggest ovations of the night came when free-agent first baseman Mike Napoli, a member of the 2013 World Series champion Red Sox, was shown on the Jumbotron in the opening quarter. He was seated courtside, left at halftime and returned late in the third quarter to another nice hand from the fans seated nearby. In the fourth quarter, Napoli was selected as the “fan of the game,” getting another loud ovation.
The Bobcats led 71-64 after three quarters. Boston cut it to three twice midway into the fourth before Tolliver made a shot-clock beating 3 with 5:37 to play.
Neither team scored for the next 2 minutes before Jefferson’s short jumper pushed the Bobcats ahead by six with 2:36 left.
Green then converted a three-point play, getting Boston to 85-80 with 1:26 to go.
Crawford’s three-point play closed it to 85-83 with 32.5 seconds left, but Jefferson had a putback off Kemba Walker’s miss to seal it.
Charlotte led 51-43 at halftime.
The start of the third quarter was filled with whistles and sloppy play, taking away any energy from the crowd. Boston narrowed its deficit to three at 67-64 late in the third before the Bobcats scored the final four points.
NOTES: Boston coach Brad Stevens said Sullinger is day-to-day. He had an MRI on Tuesday. Stevens also said he watched “very little” of the college doubleheader Tuesday night that featured four of the top five in the AP’s Top 25. … Jefferson played three seasons in Boston after being drafted by the Celtics with the 15th pick of the 2004 draft. … Tolliver started in place of McRoberts and hit two 3s in the opening quarter. … Napoli said, “No, not yet” when asked if he’s heard from the Red Sox about a contract offer while he was seated and signing autographs during a timeout in the third quarter.