Thu, Jan 08, 2009 - Page 19 News List

NBA: Bobcats surprise Celtics 114-106

HERO TO ZERO With Charlotte beating Boston on Tuesday to continue the Celtics’ sudden slide, the defending champs have tumbled from unbeatable to vulnerable

AFP AND AP , CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

DJ Augustin scored 11 of his 20 points in overtime to spark the Charlotte Bobcats past Boston 114-106 on Tuesday, handing the NBA champion Celtics their fifth loss in seven games.

The Celtics began the season 27-2, including a club-record 19 wins in a row, but have since struggled and fallen behind the Los Angeles Lakers, the team they beat in last year’s NBA Finals, for the top overall NBA record.

“They were able to drive, penetrate and kick back out to the open man,” said Celtics star Paul Pierce. “When they did that, it put a lot of pressure on us. It’s tough.”

Charlotte’s Raymond Felton scored 25 points, 16 of them in the last quarter and over-time, to lead the Bobcats while Gerald Wallace added 23 points for the hosts.

“It was a great finish,” Augustin said. “We played as a team and everyone played hard. That’s what you’ve got to do against the world champs. They came at us, and we had to keep playing hard.”

Pierce scored a game-high 28 points for Boston while Ray Allen added 20 points and Kevin Garnett added 14 for the Celtics.

An Augustin 3-pointer in over-time snapped a tie at 101 to give the Bobcats the lead for good. The rookie guard went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line in over-time.

“They try to come in and intimidate you and try to punk you,” Augustin said. “But if you don’t back down from them, they kind of fold. You have to keep coming at them and play hard.”

HORNETS 116, LAKERS 105

At Los Angeles, David West scored 15 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter and Chris Paul added 32 points and 15 assists as New Orleans snapped the Los Angeles Lakers’ 15-game home winning streak.

West shot 14-of-23 from the floor and 12-of-13 from the foul line in matching his career high. He also grabbed 11 rebounds as the Hornets (21-10) won for the 16th time in 21 games and avenged two losses to the Lakers in New Orleans earlier this season.

Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 39 points and seven assists, but scored only two in the fourth quarter.

MAGIC 89, WIZARDS 80

At Orlando, Florida, Hedo Turkoglu scored 22 points and Orlando held off a late scoring burst by Caron Butler to beat Washington.

Orlando center Dwight Howard had his league-leading 25th double-double, with 15 points and 16 rebounds. Jameer Nelson added 14 points for the Magic, who rebounded from their loss at Toronto on Sunday.

Butler had 29 points, all in the second half, and Antawn Jamison scored 13 for the recently energized Wizards, who fell to 0-3 against Orlando this season.

76ERS 104, ROCKETS 96

At Philadelphia, Andre Iguodala scored 28 points and reeling Philadelphia returned home from a dreadful road trip to beat Houston.

The Sixers needed to escape the Lone Star State to finally defeat a team from Texas. They lost at Dallas and San Antonio in the final two games of a 1-5 road trip and had lost five of seven overall, parking them in last place in the Atlantic Division.

Heading home was the perfect tonic. Iguodala continued on his recent scoring surge and scored nine points in the third quarter to help the Sixers stretch the lead to 11.

TIMBERWOLVES 94, GRIZZLIES 87

At Memphis, Tennessee, Randy Foye scored 23 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 40 seconds left, as Minnesota weathered a late rally to beat Memphis.

Following his basket, Foye blocked O.J. Mayo’s shot on the next Grizzlies possession, leading to a fast-break bucket by Ryan Gomes, and the Timberwolves secured their third straight win — their longest winning streak since January 2007.

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