Boston, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Avery Bradley had 22 points, Jared Sullinger added 20 points and seven rebounds and the Boston Celtics held off the Charlotte Bobcats, 106-103, on Friday night.
Phil Pressey tallied 10 points and 13 assists, while Brandon Bass and Jeff Green netted 18 points apiece for Boston, which snapped a nine-game losing streak.
"All of us are disappointed in our overall record, and all of us are certainly aware of [tanking] talk, but that's not our task. Our task is to play as hard, coach as hard, and do right by the game," Boston head coach Brad Stevens said.
Al Jefferson posted 32 points and 10 boards to lead the Bobcats, who had their five-game winning streak come to an end. They are one game behind the Washington Wizards for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference after they beat the Orlando Magic earlier on Friday.
"We just didn't put much into the game. I thought they deserved to win, they played harder than we did," Bobcats head coach Steve Clifford said.
After Gerald Henderson capped a 15-2 Bobcats run with a 3-pointer to tie the game at 92-92 with 5:13 left. Sullinger put in a hook shot at the other end before Chris Douglas-Roberts moved Charlotte in front by making three free throws after being fouled from beyond the arc to make it 95-94.
Boston put in eight straight a bit later to gain some breathing room. Sullinger nailed a triple, Green drove in for a layup and Bradley knocked down a left wing trey to give the Celtics a 104-97 margin with 2:14 to go.
Jefferson, though, converted back-to-back buckets to finish off a 6-0 flurry to get Charlotte back within 104-103 with 29.1 ticks on the clock. Sullinger missed from beyond the arc with 5.9 seconds to play, but Bass came down with the board and Sullinger hit two free throws.
Jannero Pargo missed a 3-pointer at the horn to seal the outcome for Boston.
Earlier, the Bobcats led 29-28 after a quarter of play, but the Celtics outscored them 29-26 in the second and took a 57-55 edge into the break.
They netted the final nine points of the third quarter to head into the fourth with an 84-75 advantage.