The Boston Celtics led the Minnesota Timberwolves by just five points with 11:39 remaining in Wednesday night’s game. It didn’t take the C’s long to extend that lead to 15 points.
Four of Boston’s players combined to score 11 points over the next 3:51 of the quarter. While Kevin Garnett, Jared Sullinger, Courtney Lee and Jason Terry were doing work on the scoreboard at one end, Minnesota mustered up just one point of its own at the other end.
The theme of Boston’s 11-1 run was free throws, and Garnett got that trend started. He connected on one of his two free throws with 11:21 remaining and then hit a jumper on the Celtics’ next possession to put them ahead 82-74. Sullinger then got to the line on Boston’s next two possessions and made three of his four free throws to push the lead up to 10 points.
Lee hit a jumper on Boston’s next possession before the C’s tightened up their defense yet again. Nikola Pekovic was forced into a missed jumper but an offensive board by Dante Cunningham retained possession for Minnesota. In hindsight, that was a good thing, because it led to Garnett’s stellar defensive play moments later.
Kevin Love held possession of the ball in the right corner and he gazed around the court for a guard to come and get the ball from him. As he did so, he paid little attention to KG’s defense, which proved to be a mistake. The former Defensive Player of the Year reached in to poke the ball out of Love’s unsuspecting hands and eventually out of bounds, resulting in a turnover. Terry wound up canning a 3-pointer on Boston’s ensuing possession to throw a dagger into the Timberwolves’ collective heart.
Boston’s lead remained in double-digits for the remainder of the contest. They wound up with a 104-94 victory that sent their overall record to 10-8.
Key Box Score Line
The raw numbers might not tell the whole story, but Kevin Garnett outperformed Kevin Love tonight.
Garnett dropped in 18 points, 10 rebounds and four assists while making eight of his 13 shot attempts. Love put up game highs of 19 points and 13 rebounds, but those numbers didn’t arrive without a struggle. Love shot just 6-of-15 from the field and made only half of his 12 free throw attempts. His five turnovers were also more than double the amount that Garnett committed (two).
This is the second consecutive meeting in which Minnesota’s former power forward has outperformed its new power forward. Garnett clearly has a thing for playing well against the only other professional team he has been a part of, and Love is the one who has to deal with that.
Box Score Nuggets
- Minnesota shot just 46.7 percent (14-of-30) from the free-throw line.
- Kevin Love scored a game-high 19 points but shot just 6-of-15 from the field.
- The Celtics were outscored in the paint, in second-chance points, and in fast break points, yet still won by 10.
- Rondo's 11 assists were more than double the amount of Luke Ridnour, who led the Timberwolves with five helpers.
- Jason Terry shot 7-of-10 from the field and made three of Boston's four 3-pointers.
- The Celtics had four players whistled for at least four fouls.
- Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce tied for the team high in scoring with 18 points apiece.
- Garnett, Rondo, Terry and Brandon Bass combined to shoot 27-of-43 (62.3 percent) from the field.
- The Celtics outrebounded Minnesota 45-41.
- Four Celtics scored at least 17 points, but none scored more than 18 points.
- Garnett (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Rondo (17 points, 11 assists) each notched double-doubles.
- Each team's assist total matched its personal foul total (24 and 24 for Boston, 19 and 19 for Minnesota).
Quote of the Night
I think he’s just accepted the challenge of playing against the top players, such as Kevin Love, in the game. He’s recognized as one of the better power forwards and when Kevin matches up with him he really takes on the challenge whether he was playing in Minnesota or somewhere else. Paul Pierce on Kevin Garnett's night