BOSTON (AP) – Paul Pierce made a layup with 0.3 seconds left to give the struggling Boston Celtics a 90-89 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night.

Pierce took the inbounds pass with 4 seconds left and drove down the left side of the lane for a layup. He finished with 27 points.

The Celtics had lost two straight – including a road loss on Wednesday that gave the Atlanta Hawks their first win of the season – and four of five. The Bobcats fell to 1-6 on the road and 4-9 overall.

Ricky Davis added 25 points and Raef LaFrentz finished with 22 and 10 rebounds for the Celtics.

Gerald Wallace and Brevin Knight each had 17 points to lead Charlotte. Emeka Okafor added 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Boston led 75-65 early in the fourth quarter, but Charlotte answered with a 10-0 run that tied the game with 7:21 left.

After the teams traded baskets, Kareem Rush knocked down a 3-pointer that gave the Bobcats an 80-77 lead. Pierce answered with a three-point play and then stole the ball from Okafor and took it the length of the court for a layup that put Boston back on top 82-80 with 4:17 left.

Okafor tied it at 82 before LaFrentz connected on a 3-pointer to give the Celtics an 85-82 lead with 3:38 to go. Knight sliced through the lane for a pair of driving layups and converted a steal that put Charlotte back in front 88-85 with 1:18 remaining.

Pierce and Okafor each sank one of two free throws and Pierce cut the deficit to 89-88 with a drive with 29 seconds left.

Notes: The Celtics were without point guard Delonte West for the second straight game because of a hip pointer. Rookie Orien Greene started and Dan Dickau came off the bench. West hopes to play Monday night against Orlando, though Celtics coach Doc Rivers isn’t sure. “It didn’t sound too promising for the next game,” Rivers said. “Even though Delonte said he was going to play.” … Celtics rookie Gerald Green was activated before the game and was in uniform for the first time this season. … Kendrick Perkins started in place of Mark Blount for the Celtics. Blount did not play in the game. … Charlotte entered the game with a league-leading 12.25 steals per game.


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