BOSTON (AP) — Phil Pressey had a career-high 13 assists, dove for loose balls and tipped a missed shot to a teammate with three seconds left.
Not bad for Boston's 5-foot-11 undrafted rookie who learned after pregame warmups that he would start for just the ninth time.
"I started before, so it really wasn't that big a deal," he said.
It was to the Celtics, who held off a late surge and broke a season-long nine-game losing streak with a 106-103 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night.
Pressey got the call when Rajon Rondo realized his left shin was too sore for him to play.
"Phil Pressey gave us a great lift on the defensive end," said Avery Bradley, who led Boston with 22 points. "I feel like that's why we won the game."
Boston led 104-103 before Jared Sullinger made two free throws with 2.5 seconds left. Charlotte called timeout then got the ball to Jannero Pargo, who missed a straightaway 3-point shot as time expired.
"I put my hands up to make him make a tough shot," Pressey said. "He was kind of fading away. If he made that shot we would have gone into overtime. If not, we win."
The Bobcats were led by Al Jefferson with 32 points and 10 rebounds and Gary Neal with 13 points.
"We got what we deserved," Jefferson said. "There was no way we can go in the playoffs with that type of mindset."
Charlotte's season-best five-game winning streak ended as it dropped into the seventh and the next-to-last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. It trails Washington by one game after the Wizards beat Orlando 96-86 Friday night.
Boston has the fourth-worst record in the NBA after entering the game tied with Orlando for the third-worst. Sullinger scored 20 points and Pressey had 10 with three steals.
Charlotte also was missing its top guard, Kemba Walker, who sat out with a sore right groin. Coach Steve Clifford didn't know if he would play Saturday night against Philadelphia.
"I'm really more concerned about the guys on the floor," Clifford said. "We had very little defense."
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