Allen's sharpshooting helps Celtics cruise past Bobcats

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Ray Allen found his shooting touch, his teammates scored at will inside and the Celtics made it look so easy it was hard for Bobcats coach Larry Brown to watch.

Allen broke out of his shooting slump with 27 points, Kendrick Perkins added 21 points and 12 rebounds and the Boston cruised past Charlotte 108-90 on Tuesday night for their fifth straight victory.

For a night, the Celtics looked like the dominant team that started the season 6-0. And the Bobcats looked nothing like the club that had won four straight, including a victory over Cleveland.

"It was like the varsity against the JV," Brown said as he attacked his team's effort and defense.

Entering shooting 30 percent from 3-point range, Allen took only nine shots, but hit 5 of 6 3s, including one from behind the plane of the backboard with 1 second left to give the Celtics a 62-39 halftime lead.

"Ray made shots early. When your shooter makes shots, the floor opens a little bit more for you," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "It opened up our low-post game."

Perkins took advantage, hitting 9 of 10 shots. Kevin Garnett shot 5 for 8 and added 16 points and seven rebounds. About the only negative was Rasheed Wallace's league-leading eighth technical foul as the Celtics quickly ended any hopes Charlotte had of erasing memories of its embarrassing 59-point performance in Boston on opening night.

For Brown, who called a timeout less than 2 minutes in, this game was worse.

"I'm happy for our fans. They got to go home and watch [North] Carolina and Michigan State," Brown said. "If any of them were smart, they would have left early and watched that game."

Gerald Wallace scored just five points for the Bobcats after getting into early foul trouble. Nazr Mohammed had 16 points for Charlotte, which entered giving up a league-low 87.9 points a game.

Rivers entered the game worried about new Charlotte addition Stephen Jackson, joking before the game that they were going to "do some tic-tac-toe" to figure out if the 6-foot-5 Allen guarded the 6-8 Jackson or 6-7 Wallace.

Allen started on Jackson, who immediately posted him and scored in the lane on the first possession. But Wallace picked up two fouls in 5 minutes and sat out the rest of the half, giving the Celtics matchup advantages. Nobody could get a body on Perkins, who was only five points shy of matching a career high.

"It was hard for me sitting in the first half, just watching basically layup after layup after layup," said Wallace, who entered as the reigning Eastern Conference player of the week after twice topping 30 points in victories last week.

The Bobcats shot 31 percent in the first half without him, and trailed by as many as 26 points before he got his first points with 8:15 left in the third quarter.

But it might not have mattered with the Celtics shooting 55 percent and Allen finding his touch.

A career 40-percent shooter from behind the arc, Allen had gone 6 for 23 in the past four games. Rivers said at the shootaround that he had said nothing to him and that "he hasn't forgot how" to shoot.

With Perkins and Garnett drawing attention inside, Allen was hitting from the outside and the foul line, where he made all 10 attempts. The Celtics didn't even need Paul Pierce (eight points) to move into a tie for the Eastern Conference lead with Orlando.

"I put some baby oil on the rim," Allen said, smiling. "I said earlier I had to just put it in, just swish the ball, not even mess around with the rim. It's really all a body thing, just getting your legs in the air and being consistent."

It was a setback for the Bobcats, whose winning streak came at the heels of a seven-game skid and included an impressive home win over Cleveland Friday. They shot just 41 percent and trailed by as many as 28 points.

"You could have taken five people from the stands and they'd have run their stuff and I think it would have been just as competitive," Brown said.

Added Gerald Wallace: "I think even Doc Rivers had 12 points."

Game notes
Rasheed Wallace is already halfway toward earning a suspension for his technical foul count. "His teammates are on him. We talked to him about it," Rivers said. "But at the end of the day, he's going to have to solve that on his own. Rasheed has a reputation, and he's earned it." ... Mohammed received a technical for getting in Garnett's face after Garnett was called for an offensive foul for hitting him in the face. ... The Celtics held only their second morning shootaround of the season, but it was because Rivers canceled practice Monday.