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02/11/2013 11:01 PM EST
Mullens, Bobcats end Celtics' win streak 94-91
CHARLOTTE 94, BOSTON 91

By STEVE REED
AP Sports Writer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- All in all, Monday proved to be a painful
night for the Boston Celtics.



Not only did the Celtics have their seven-game losing streak
snapped at the hands of the NBA's worst team, but they might
have suffered yet another costly injury in their 94-91 loss to
the Charlotte Bobcats.



Backup guard Leandro Barbosa, who has seen increased playing
time since the season-ending injury to Rajon Rondo, injured his
left knee late in the third quarter and had to be carried to the
locker room by a trainer and teammate.



Coach Doc Rivers said Barbosa will have an MRI on Tuesday.



"It doesn't look great but we'll see," Rivers said.



In the seven games since Rondo's injury Barbosa had averaged
nine points while playing an average of 22.5 minutes. The
Celtics had won all seven games.



All of that came crashing down Monday night.



This night belonged to Charlotte's unheralded big man, Byron
Mullens.



The four-year NBA veteran turned in a career game with 25 points
and 18 rebounds as the Bobcats snapped a seven-game losing
streak.



The 7-foot Mullens hit 10 of 16 shots from the field, including
4 of 5 from 3-point range. Ramon Sessions had 19 points for the
Bobcats, including the go-ahead jumper from 18 feet with 25.7
seconds left. Kemba Walker had 18 points, six assists and six
rebounds, and Gerald Henderson chipped in with 16 points.



Mullens was playing his fifth game after missing 19 with an
ankle injury.



"It's big time," Walker said of Mullens' effort. "We need that
from him. We need that from Byron and he can do it. We know he
can do it every night. He is very capable. When he has big games
like that, you know, I think that gives us a much better
chance."



Mullens said he was more pleased with his rebounding than his
scoring "because that is not what I'm known for.



"I just have to show the league and this organization that I can
rebound," he said.



Kevin Garnett had 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Celtics, but
missed a key 18-footer that would have given Boston the lead
late in the game. Paul Pierce and Avery Bradley had chances to
send the game into overtime in the final seconds, but missed
open 3-pointers.



Jeff Green had 18 points for the Celtics and Pierce finished
with 13 points, eight assists and eight rebounds.



"We had a win streak going and we had momentum going," Celtics
guard Courtney Lee said. "We wanted finish out the rest of these
games going into the (All-Star) break. So it's definitely a
letdown. This one hurts more because we had the lead with one
minute to go."



It was a back-and-forth game throughout.



After Henderson gave the Bobcats an 85-84 lead with 3:58
remaining, Jason Terry made a 3 from the wing and Garnett
followed with a turnaround jumper in the lane to push the Boston
lead to four.



It appeared as though the Bobcats were on their way to another
fourth quarter collapse.



But trailing by four, Henderson hit a 3-point with 1:01 left.
After Bradley missed an open jumper, Sessions came free off a
screen and knocked down an 18-footer to give the Bobcats the
lead with 25.7 seconds remaining.



The Celtics called timeout but Garnett missed from the left
wing. Mullens grabbed his 18th rebound and the Walker made a
pair of key free throws to give the Bobcats a three-point lead
with 14.8 seconds left.



Boston set up an inbounds play and Pierce got an open look but
missed. He grabbed his own rebound and dished out to the wing
for Bradley, but he missed a 3 as time expired.



Boston's loss came after a triple overtime win against Denver on
Thursday night, but the Celtics refused to use fatigue as an
excuse.



"We put that one behind us," Green said.



As he'd planned to do before the game, Rivers went deep into his
bench in the first half with 10 players seeing at least 10
minutes of action.



The Bobcats battled back in the third quarter behind 12 points
from Mullens to take a 75-72 lead into the fourth. Mullens, who
scored Charlotte's first 10 points of the game, did most of his
damage from outside, knocking down 3-pointers and turnaround
jumpers, showing great touch for a big man.



"Byron was as good as you can get in the NBA statistically in
many ways," Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap said. "He's still young.
He's growing. ... He's a different player because he was able to
take a res. He's got live legs and he's able to see the game."



NOTES: Pierce scored in double figures for the 50th game this
season. ... Bobcats center Bismack Biyombo was a force inside on
the defensive end blocking four shots and grabbing seven
defensive rebounds.

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