BOSTON — The Charlotte Bobcats led wire to wire and ended the Boston Celtics’ four-game winning streak with an 89-83 victory Wednesday night.
The win ended a two-game losing streak and brought the Bobcats back to .500 at 4-4. Boston fell to 4-5.
Former Celtics center Al Jefferson scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. He converted an offensive board with 17.7 seconds left to give his team a four-point lead as the scrambling Celtics almost wiped out an eight-point deficit in the final 1:24. His basket made it 87-83 and wound up sealing the verdict.
Jefferson led five Bobcats in double figures. Guard Gerald Henderson scored 13 points and had nine rebounds and five assists, and guard Jeff Taylor came off the bench with 12 points for Charlotte, which led by as many as 16 points (in the second quarter).
Forward Jeff Green led the Celtics with 19 points but missed two free throws that could have brought his team to within a point with 7:26 remaining.
Guard Jordan Crawford had 16 points, six assists and five rebounds in the loss.
Bobcats coach Steve Clifford, coaching his second game since missing three days after a heart procedure, saw his team jump out quickly and lead by 11 points 6:35 into the game.
The lead was six at the end of the first quarter and, despite Boston runs of 10-0 and 8-0 in the second quarter, the visitors saw their biggest lead cut in half but still led by eight at halftime.
The Celtics, down by 12 just two minutes into the second half, closed their deficit to just three with 1:08 left in the third quarter. Charlotte scored the last two baskets of the quarter and led by seven.
Boston failed to lead in the fourth quarter for the first time this season.Notes: Both teams were missing frontcourt players. Charlotte F Josh McRoberts was out for personal reasons (expected to return Friday) and Boston was without F Jared Sullinger (bruised knee). Sullinger is averaging 11.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. “Sully is probably our best back-to-the-basket player,” said coach Brad Stevens, who was set to give F Kris Humphries some of Sullinger’s minutes. Humphries didn’t play Monday against Orlando. ... The Celtics complete a three-game homestand against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday, while the Bobcats host the Cleveland Cavaliers. ... Wednesday was the nine-month anniversary of Boston G Rajon Rondo’s knee surgery. He looked good during a pre-game workout on the court. ... Charlotte C Al Jefferson, a former Celtic, said coming back to Boston is always special. “It’s always great to come back to my home, my first NBA home,” he said.
Sixers 123, Rockets 117, OT
PHILADELPHIA — Guard/forward James Anderson scored a career-high 36 points, and a dunk by center Spencer Hawes with 34.9 seconds left in overtime Wednesday put the Philadelphia 76ers ahead to stay in a 123-117 win over the Houston Rockets.
Guard Tony Wroten — starting for Michael Carter-Williams (left arch bruise) — had 18 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for the Sixers (5-4), who snapped a two-game losing streak.
It was the first career triple-double for Wroten.
Houston guard Jeremy Lin, starting for the injured James Harden (bruised left foot), scored a season-high 34 points, hitting nine of 15 3-point attempts. He also had 12 assists. Center Dwight Howard added 23 points, 15 rebounds and six assists for the Rockets (5-4), and guard/forward Chandler Parson scored 22 points.
Magic 94, Bucks 91
ORLANDO — Veteran guard Arron Afflalo scored a career-high 36 points, including 29 in the second half, to lead the Orlando Magic to a 94-91 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night at the Amway Arena.
Afflalo hit eight 3-point baskets, including five in a comeback third quarter, to help the Magic (4-5) snap a three-game losing streak. It was the Magic’s 15th consecutive victory over the Bucks in Orlando.
Guard O.J. Mayo had 25 points and forward Caron Butler 20 to pace the Bucks (2-5), who were crushed Tuesday night by the Heat in Miami.