Boston-Al Jefferson spent three season with Boston before being apart of the trade that sent Kevin Garnett to the Celtics. Every trip back to the TD Garden in the five plus seasons since he last suited up in green have ended in defeat, until last night. After the usual great reception during player introductions, Big Al put up 22 points, grabbed 11 boards to lead the Bobcats to an 89-83 win Wednesday night, and snapping the C's four game winning streak in the process.
In his second game back, after missing five straight with a bruised right ankle. Jefferson said it was the first time being on a team that beat the Celtics.
"A long time coming," he said. "Been so close so many times...I still missed a lot of shots I normally would make." After shooting 8-for-17. "I've got to get in better shape. That's the only bad part about getting hurt in the beginning of the year."
Gerald Henderson had 13 points, Jeff Taylor had 12 and Anthony Tolliver had 11 for Charlotte, which ended a two-game skid.
While Jeff Green had a team high 19 points and Jordan Crawford continued his great play putting up 16 points, five rebounds and dishing out six assists. Coach Stevens put it best when asked about playing from behind the entire game;
"We made some runs, but I never felt like that game-there are certain games where you feel like the other team has got you a little bit of a stranglehold, and it's going to be hard to overcome it because of the way the game was going...they had their way most of the night. They were very good."
Both teams were without key big men. Celtics were without Jared Sullinger who was out with a bruised knee, and Bobcats forward Josh McRoberts missed the game for personal reasons.
Boston never lead in this game. After three quarters the Bobcats were up 71-64 while the Celtics twice closed it to three midway into the fourth before Tolliver nailed a shot-clock beating 3 with 5:37 to play.
Green converted a three-point play, getting Boston within 85-80 with 1:26 to go, and even Crawford had a three-point play of his own that kept the Celtics alive, and within two 85-83 with 32.5 seconds left. But a Jefferson put-back off a Kemba Walker miss, sealed it for the visiting team.
Jordan Crawford felt like the Bobcats wanted it more, by playing harder for most of the night;
"They beat us with effort. They beat us to all the loose balls and rebounds," he said. "It's not really a game to throw away. It's one to look at to see where we can get better."
Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley who had been key contributors during the four game winning streak, both struggled with their shots, going for a combined 5-for-17 from the field and only scoring seven points each. While Boston's front court did combined for 36 boards including 11 from the rookie; Kelly Olynyk and nine from Vitor Faverani.
Celtics will try to go for .500 once again as they will take on the Portland Trailblazers at the TD Garden on Friday at 7:30.
Boston's defense held Charlotte to 37% shooting and lead to 21 fast break points...First baseman, Mike Napoli of the World Champion Red Sox, got a huge ovation when he was shown on the jumbotron, seating court side and signing autographs. In the fourth quarter he was selected as the "fan of the game."