The Celtics got off to a decent start in Minny tonight behind Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass. AB & BB combined for 14 of the C’s 24 first quarter points. It was a relatively sloppy quarter for both team-each turned the ball over 5 times. Minny however controlled the pace and was aggressive offensively, taking 10 FT’s and making 9 of them. Boston was down 33-24 after 1Q.
In the 2nd quarter, the Wolves took advantage of some very erratic & careless play by Boston (8 more turnovers) to open up a 17 point lead, 43-26 with 7:47 left. Love and Pekovic started to really get it going, and Minny was pushing the ball well, as they have all season. The C’s did not make their first field goal of the 2nd quarter until Bass hit a layup with 7:31 left in the 2nd. But just when it looked like the TWolves would open things up, Boston dusted themselves off and got back into the game. Behind Bradley, (again) and Jordan Crawford, the Celtics went on a 20-8 run over the last 6+ minutes of the 2nd to pull within 5 points at the end of the half. Boston went on a 14-3 run in the final 5 minutes, and Minnesota was only up 55-50 at halftime. Considering that Boston turned the ball over 13 times in the 1st half, the C’s were very fortunate to be that close. Holding the Wolves to no fastbreak points in the 2nd quarter was key also.
The 3rd quarter was where the C’s really started to just tread water. With the exception of Avery Bradley, baskets were few and far between, and the Wolves continued their assault on offense. Kevin Love and Nikolai Pekovic were all over the glass and in the paint, scoring 8 and 10 respectively in the 3rd, and the Wolves had 14 points in the paint for the quarter. Kevin Martin also was hitting shots, and Boston went into the 4th down 19, 89-70. They did manage to get a temporary hold on the turnovers, as the C’s only had 1 in the 3rd Q. Up until this point, Jeff Green was nowhere to be found on the offensive end. Would he pick it up in the crucial 4th?
The Celtics simply could not catch the Wolves in the 4th, as turnovers once again crept in, (3 in the first 6 minutes) and they could not get anything consistent going on offense. After hitting their first 4 shots of the 4th, they went 1 for 8 over the next 6 and a half minutes. Meanwhile, Love & Pekovic continued to dominate. Jeff Green only attempted one shot in the quarter and Boston was simply outmatched and outgunned. Minnesota wins tonight, 106-88. Kevin Love finished with what else, a double-double of 23 and 12. Pekovic and Martin each had 20 points. Things do not get any easier for Boston, as they now head to Texas where they will face the Rockets on Tuesday and Spurs on Wednesday. Fortunately, they will at least get two days off in between. C’s have now lost 3 straight and are 4-7 on the year.
- Avery Bradley had a fantastic night. Falls one shy of his career-high in points, scoring 27 on 12 of 23 shooting.
- Nice night for BBass who had a solid line with 15 points, 7 rebounds & 2 blocks against one of the best front courts in the NBA.
- Despite giving up 52 points in the paint, the Celtics defense managed to get 8 blocks on the TWolves.
- Vitor Faverani pulled down 14 boards and blocked 4 shots to go with 9 points.
- Celtics gave up 28 points off of their 22 turnovers tonight.
- Jeff Green was basically a no show. Green took a total of 6 shots, missing them all, and his 2 total points came off of free-throws. When Brad Stevens was asked about Green’s night, he replied, “you gotta ask Jeff.”
- After a monster of a night on Friday, Sully struggled, going 1 for 6 from the field for 3 points. After the game, coach Brad Stevens said Sully “looked tired..”
- The man known as “Steez” also struggled in Minnesota. Jordan Crawford was 4 of 14 from the field on Saturday night.
The Grid: (quick stats)
- Courtney Lee sat out tonight’s game with a sore wrist
- Wolves had 52 points in the paint to Boston’s 28