Boston set a quick tone by spurting to a 37-25 lead after the first period. The lead was 61-48 at halftime, and after Charlotte scored the first six points to begin the second half, Boston used its defense to win going away.
The losers scored only nine points in the fourth period.
Emeka Okafor's 17 points and eight rebounds led Charlotte. Earl Boykins scored 15 points. Raymond Felton had 11 points and 10 assists while Jared Dudley added 10 points and five rebounds for the Bobcats, who fell to 19-20 at home.
The victory guaranteed the Celtics home-court advantage throughout the NBA playoffs.