1 Total Update since March 27, 2011
about 2 years ago Update 0 comments
It was ugly, but at this point, style points don't matter to the Celtics. They'll take a win however they can get one.
On Sunday night in Minneapolis, the C's blew a 25-point, first half lead but hung on to top the T'Wolves, 85-82. Paul Pierce scored 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds while Kevin Garnett, the best player in the history of the Minnesota franchise, added 13 points, 13 rebounds and five assists to lead the Celts, who played without point guard Rajon Rondo.
Boston led 32-13 after one and 38-13 in the second quarter before going into another prolonged hibernation on offense. The Wolves, who are last in the NBA at points allowed with 107.1 per game, outscored the Celts 49-32 in the second and third quarters and even led by two as late as the five minute mark of the fourth. The C's shot 40 percent from the floor and made just four of 15 from long distance. The Wolves missed 22 of their first 27 shots but a 22-6 run in the third quarter pulled them even with the C's at the start of the fourth. Without leading scorer and rebounder Kevin Love for the third straight game, Michael Beasley picked up the slack for the Wolves (17-57), with 28 points and 10 rebounds.
With Rondo sidelined due to a strained pinky finger, Delonte West started and had eight points and five assists in 31 minutes. Ray Allen and Nenad Krstic each scored 11 points for the C's while Glen Davis added eight off the bench despite missing 11 of 15 shots. The Celtics (51-21), who remained a half game ahead of the Miami Heat for second place in the Eastern Conference with the win, continue their four-game road trip Monday night in Indianapolis against the Pacers.
about 2 years ago Update 0 comments
So which Celtics team will show up Sunday night at the Minnesota Timberwolves (7 p.m. EDT; TV/Radio: CSNNE/WEEI)? Will it be the group that responded to adversity last Saturday against the Hornets and Monday against the Knicks like the veteran, battle-tested bunch they are? Or will it be the unfocused, selfish, sleepwalking group that rolled over in home losses earlier this week to inferior opponents like Memphis and Charlotte?
It's anyone's guess. The Celts (50-21) are reeling right now after Friday night's 83-81 defeat at the hands of the Bobcats, which may have been the low point of the season. A 13-point lead headed into the fourth quarter and a nine-point cushion with eight minutes left weren't enough to hold off Charlotte, which came into that game losers of four straight and missing their top three scorers. Headed into Sunday night against the Wolves, the C's, having lost six of 10, are now in danger of falling all the way down to the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference if they lose and Miami defeats Houston.
The Celts beat Minnesota, 96-93, on Jan. 3, at TD Garden, a game in which the Wolves best player, Kevin Love, grabbed a monstrous 24 rebounds. Love has missed the Wolves' last two games with a groin injury, but practiced on Saturday and may return for Sunday night's game. Overall, the C's have beaten Minnesota eight straight times, with their last loss coming in February, 2007, when Kevin Garnett still toiled in Minneapolis.
Offense has been a real problem for the Celtics, who haven't lost three games in a row in a year. They've averaged just 86 points per game over their last 10. The Wolves (17-56) allow 107.1 points per game, worst in the league, and have given up 111 per game over the course of a losing streak that reached six on Friday night against Oklahoma City, so something may have to give for Boston.
The Celtics, still without both Jermaine and Shaquille O'Neal, will also be missing forward Troy Murphy, who will be out with a sprained ankle for this entire four-game road trip that continues Monday night in Indiana and includes stops later in the week at San Antonio and Atlanta.