CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Paul Pierce has put the Boston Celtics on his shoulders and carried them through some tough times – all the way into a tie for first place.

With the Celtics battling a series of injuries and playing without Ray Allen, Pierce has been on a scoring tear.

And he didn’t let up Monday night.

Pierce scored a season-high 36 points and the Celtics held on to beat the Charlotte Bobcats 102-95 to move into a share of the Atlantic Division lead with the Philadelphia 76ers. Both teams are 27-22 with 17 regular-season games remaining, although the 76ers own the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Pierce said taking on a bigger burden of scoring doesn’t bother him at all.

“I think I’ve been feeling that way for the past couple of weeks now as far as needing to be more aggressive when I have the opportunities within the flow of the offense,” Pierce said.

Pierce shot 10 of 20 from the field, made 15 of 18 free throws and added 10 rebounds and four assists. He has scored 20 or more points in five of the past six games and is averaging 22.4 points during March.

“I wanted to be aggressive and just saw lanes tonight and I just wanted to mix it up between driving to the hole and hitting jump shots,” Pierce said. “My teammates set me up with a lot of down screens and pick-and-rolls that enabled me to get into the lane.”

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Pierce played in “attack mode” right from the opening tip. Pierce had 17 points in the first half.

“We like to post him up a little more than we were doing,” Rivers said.

Kevin Garnett had 24 points for the Celtics.