Final, Celtics 92-90: In Kevin Garnett's first game against Minnesota after being traded from Boston he made a great defensive play by knocking the ball from Sebastian Telfair and then diving to grab the loose ball as time expired.
Garnett's defense was the difference down the stretch again as he ties up Corey Brewer with 3.6 seconds left. Minnesota did get one more shot but it was a prayer and the Celts survive.
To be a great team you have to win games like this. The C's were outrebounded, outshot, they missed six of their 19 free throw attempts and trailed much of the game. But they will take a 6-0 mark into Friday's matchup at home with Phoenix.
Fourth quarter, 10.2 seconds, Celtics 92-90: Well, they went with Paul Pierce but it didn't pay off, as Pierce's fadeaway fell short.
Not to get too cheesy, but these are the moments that can make a season for a young team like the Timberwolves.
Fourth quarter, 29.3 seconds, Celtics 92-90: As I fired off that last post, the Timberwolves predictably scored, but Boston is in great shape to get out of here with a win if they can get something on this possession.
Paul Pierce has been very quiet but now would be a good time to get him the ball and let him do something.
Let's see what Doc Rivers comes up with.
Fourth quarter, 1:30, Celtics 92-88: The dominant defense we were waiting to see from Boston has emerged at a great time.
Since Oleksiy Pecherov scored with 4:37 to go, the Timberwolves have been held scoreless.
Fourth quarter, 4:16, Celtics 89-88: For the umpteenth time, Rajon Rondo is alone underneath. This time, he's found for a hoop by Kevin Garnett.
It's a see-saw affair right now and it's somewhat refreshing to see Boston in a fourth-quarter struggle.
Fourth quarter, 5:46, 84-84: One player who started slow just made a big shot and another who started fast looks lost.
Ray Allen, after missing his first six 3-point attempts, made one to forge the game's 10th tie.
Moments later, Al Jefferson lost the ball off his own leg for Minnesota's 15th turnover.
Jefferson had 11 points in the first quarter but has just scored just seven since.
Fourth quarter, 7:02, Timberwolves 82-81: The town of Donetsk, Russia, has to be going ga-ga tonight, or this morning, or whatever time it is there.
Oleksiy Pecherov, its native son, is having himself a game. Pecherov made a shot from the elbow moments ago to be the first player on either team to reach 20 points.
That's saying something considering how Al Jefferson started things off for Minnesota.
Fourth quarter, 8:57, 80-80: Boston was able to take the lead on just the team's third 3-pointer of the night, a bomb by Rasheed Wallace.
Moments later Eddie House hits another to tie it.
And how many times tonight has Marquis Daniels been in the passing lane to either deflect or intercept a pass?
He will be at the line after the break to try to put the Celts ahead.
End of third quarter, 72-72: The Celtics flirted with the lead several times down the stretch in the third but never got over the hump.
Through three quarters, Boston, which ranks among the best 3-point shooting teams in the league, has made just 2-of-12 from long range (Ray Allen has missed all six of his attempts) but Eddie House's from the corner at the buzzer was a big one.
House had been 0-for-5 before the buzzer beater.
Third quarter, 2:17, 68-68: It just keeps rolling for Rajon Rondo, who picks up a loose ball underneath and scores to tie it.
That's 10 straight points for Rondo. The Celts have missed two shots in a bid to take the lead.
Third quarter, 2:59, Timberwolves 67-66: It's the Rajon Rondo show all of a sudden.
After scoring just two points in the first half, Rondo has erupted for 12 in the third quarter to pull the Celtics within one.
Rondo has scored the last eight Boston points and the deficit is the smallest it has been since 3:36 remained in the second.
Dangerous time for the T-Wolves.
Third quarter, 5:15, Timberwolves 63-60: Rajon Rondo has now taken a grand total of three free throws this season after making two to trim the shrinking deficit to three points.
Ray Allen missed an open 3-pointer that would have tied it for the first time since it was 35-35.
Third quarter, 6:00, Timberwolves 62-56: Uh-oh, Oleksiy Pecherov is fired up, never a good sign.
Pecherov buried a 3-pointer before Ray Allen scored to pull Boston within six points. The Celts have to be happy with that deficit given how poorly they have played during stretches.
Third quarter, 7:13, Timberwolves 59-52: The Celtics get five quick points but a wild possession for Minnesota yields a basket by Corey Brewer, who has made three straight shots since about the time I labeled his tendency to fire it up a good sign for the Celtics.
Third quarter, 11:09, Timberwolves 51-43: A little of the same to start the second half as the Celts have a couple of empty possessions before Kevin Garnett opens the scoring, only to see Oleksiy Pecherov make an easy 12-footer on the other end.
Halftime, Timberwolves 49-41: The Celtics have turned the ball over just three times and are shooting nearly 50 percent but they are behind at the break due to a lackluster effort on the defensive end.
During its 5-0 start Boston has made scoring an absolute chore for opponents, but the Timberwolves got plenty of good looks and were able to get to the basket with ease.
Minnesota shot 54 percent from the floor and really seems to have something to build on with Jonny Flynn and Al Jefferson.
Flynn has gotten the better of Rajon Rondo to the tune of 10 points, four rebounds and four assists. Jefferson leads all scorers with 13 points.
A piece of pie with my name on it awaits for a halftime snack. You get yours and I'll see you back here in a few minutes.
Second quarter, 3:17, Timberwolves 41-37: It's safe to say Rasheed Wallace has become comfortable in his Celtics skin.
For the second night in a row Wallace has been whistled for a technical foul, only this time he got it while sitting on the bench.
It takes a special kind of player.
Second quarter, 5:07, 33-33: They're good friends off the court and are worthy combatants on it tonight.
Kendrick Perkins and Al Jefferson have combined for 21 points, with Perkins making all five of his shots.
Second quarter, 7:15, 31-31: It's the bench once again that digs Boston out of a hole.
Marquis Daniels just created a turnover and then found a trailing Rasheed Wallace for a game-tying 3-pointer.
It's an 8-0 run by the reserves.
Al Jefferson just returned for the Timberwolves and is being guarded by Wallace. We'll see how Sheed handles him.
Second quarter, 8:45, Timberwolves 31-26: As I mentioned earlier, the fatigue factor bears watching.
That usually is seen in hustle plays or a lack of effort and there have been a few defensive trips this quarter in which Boston has looked very lackadaisical.
Eddie House just threw a ball to nobody and it's hard to imagine how the Celts are within five.
Second quarter, 11:42, Timberwolves 27-22: The refs got it right in the end, taking away a basket by Al Jefferson before the break.
End of first quarter, Timberwolves 29-22: Not to beat a dead horse, but Al Jefferson is dominating.
Jefferson beat the shot clock with a shot from just inside the 3-point line and then followed it up with another hoop to give himself 11 points and the Timberwolves their largest lead.
Make it 13 for Jefferson as he scores again in the final minute.
The referees are going to look at one of Jefferson's shot to make sure he beat the buzzer. We may have a scoring change in a moment but it looked to me as if he got the shot off in time.
First quarter, 2:40, Timberwolves 23-16: It's been a great first quarter for the Celtics — the ex-Celtics, that is.
Al Jefferson and Ryan Gomes have combined for 13 points already for the hot-shooting Timberwolves.
First quarter, 4:20, Timberwolves 21-14: Minnesota rookie Jonny Flynn was a joy to watch in college and looks pretty comfortable in an NBA uniform.
He nearly just lost his footing before hitting a long jumper over Ray Allen.
First quarter, 5:16, Timberwolves 19-14: Watching a T-Wolves game is like watching the football scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
Maybe I'm dating myself, but if you recall, the public address announcer says the name "Jefferson" over and over as the Ridgemont linebacker, played by Forest Whitaker, makes tackle after tackle. Ridgemont's Jefferson was a menace in that one and Minnesota's is each time he takes to the floor.
Al Jefferson already has seven points and two assists as Minnesota looks strong early on.
First quarter, 6:20, Timberwolves 15-10: It's a 9-0 run by the T-Wolves, broken as I type this by Kevin Garnett, who had his lowest scoring total since 1996 last night in Philly.
The starters look a little listless again for Boston. We'll see what happens when that dominant second unit comes in.
First quarter, 9:10, 6-6: The Celts will be just fine if Corey Brewer keeps shooting.
Brewer, noted as a good defender, has showcased an ugly jumper twice already.
He can score inside though, as he just did on a great feed by old friend Al Jefferson.
First quarter, 11:00, Celtics 2-0 : We're underway and I just have to ask. Anyone else find the court at the Target Center a bit much?
Ray Allen doesn't seem to mind, coming off a screen to bury the Celtics' first shot of the game.
7:35 p.m.: They're warming up in the Target Center and I've cracked my knuckles to prepare for a few hours of typing.
On paper (I'll get to some stats in a bit) this is a massive mismatch, but it has the smell of a letdown for the Celtics. Why? Well, for Boston this is game No. 6 in just nine nights, the second of back-to-back outings on the road in two different time zones and it comes against a young opponent hungry for a win after dropping three in a row.
And with a pair of former Celtics in the Timberwolves' starting lineup and an old enemy of the state in Kurt Rambis as the new coach, there will be no shortage of incentives for Minnesota to try to make a statement.
That said, consider a few numbers that speak to how dominant Boston has been:
– The Celtics' 51.4 percent mark from the floor is tied for the highest in the league.
– Boston averages a league-high 27 assists per game, three more than second-place Houston.
– The C's point differential of 21.6 is more than 11 points higher than any other team.
– Boston opponents average 79.8 points per game, shoot 38.5 percent from the floor and 25.6 percent from 3-point range, all league lows.
Meanwhile, Minnesota's 41.8 field-goal percentage is sixth-worst in the league and it makes a league-low 2.8 3-pointers per game.
The starting lineups are in and they look like this:
Rajon Rondo – PG
Ray Allen – SG
Paul Pierce – SF
Kevin Garnett – PF
Kendrick Perkins – C
Jonny Flynn – PG
Corey Brewer – SG
Ryan Gomes – SF
Oleksiy Pecherov – PF
Al Jefferson – C
Tip is about 30 minutes away. Keep it here.
10:45 a.m.: For just the second time since he was traded from Minnesota to Boston in 2007, Kevin Garnett will take to the floor in Minneapolis as the C's meet the Timberwolves.
Garnett — Minnesota's all-time leader in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks — was injured when Boston made this trip in his first season with the C's. He scored 17 points in his Target Center return last November, helping the Celts to a 95-78 win.
The 33-year-old will want a better outing than the one he had in Boston's 105-74 rout in Philadelphia last night. In 23 minutes, Garnett had five turnovers and scored just three points, his lowest total since Feb. 5, 1996, when he was a 19-year-old rookie and the future of the Timberwolves franchise.
The C's barely needed Garnett or Ray Allen, who only had five points, as the bench exploded for 62. Rasheed Wallace hit six 3-pointers and had 20 points. Eddie House and Shelden Williams combined for 23 points as Boston improved to 5-0 for the 10th time in franchise history.
This is the sixth game in a brutal stretch of eight games in 12 nights to start the season for the Celtics and their first set of back-to-back road games. While the season is young, the fatigue factor bears watching.
Minnesota dropped a 93-90 decision at the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, its third straight setback. Al Jefferson scored 24 points. He and Ryan Gomes are the only players of the five who were traded for Garnett that are still with the T-Wolves.
Boston has won five straight in the series.
I'll be providing all the coverage right here so be sure to check back before the 8:00 p.m. tip for any updates.
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