After having a few days to rest, recover and return Rajon Rondo to the court, the Boston Celtics came stumbling into their game with the Minnesota Timberwolves, recovering just enough to win, 104-94, Wednesday night from TD Garden in Boston, MA.
Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce would continue their strong offensive play from Saturday night's tilt against the Milwaukee Bucks, but it was on the defensive end that Boston continues to look lost.
A simple rotation has been too much for the Celtics, who looked rusty and a step slow throughout the first half against the Timberwolves. With most of their makes coming from the perimeter, Minnesota used the same strategy the Bucks used Sunday to slip past the Rondo-less Celtics– move the ball effectively and someone will be open.
Minnesota had nine assists on 12 makes, with seven of those makes coming from nine feet or further.
The Timberwolves scored 30 in the first quarter and used an 11-4 run to close to score 21 in the second quarter, eventually holding a four-point advantage at the half.
In the second half, the defense still wasn't there, but Minnesota simply couldn't knock down their shots. Brandon Bass woke up from his first-half sleepwalk, scoring 10 points in the third and every Boston starter entered the fourth quarter with double-digit points as the Celtics led by seven.
Boston's energy was at an all-game high in the fourth though, with crisp rotations, hard-nosed defense from the Celtics veteran, Garnett, and big play from the rookie, Jared Sullinger. The game's pace would slow to a crawl as Minnesota attempted to get to the line and back into the game. The Timberwolves couldn't hit their free throws in the fourth, or really most of the night, and the Celtics coasted comfortably through the fourth.
Both teams struggled shooting from the free throw line, with Boston notching 69 percent from the line and Minnesota connecting on only 46 percent from the charity stripe.
The Timberwolves held a 50-34 point advantage in the paint for the game, which opened up after establishing their perimeter shooting in the first half.
In his first game back in Boston, Greg Stiemsma had just two points and two blocks in the game.
Rondo notched 17 points and 11 assists in his first night back from suspension.
The Celtics (10-8) will meet up with the Philadelphia 76ers (10-8) Friday night from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA at 7:30 pm ET.
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