The last time the Celtics took on the Minnesota Timberwolves, they got a win, but they were shocked and awed by the play of young big man Kevin Love. This time around, that won't be an issue.
On Jan. 3, when the Celtics snuck away with a 96-93 win at the TD Garden, they watched helplessly as the 22-year-old Love piled up 12 points and 24 rebounds on them. On Sunday night, Love will be inactive, as he struggles to recover from a sprained left groin.
The Wolves have been without Love and his league-best 64 double-doubles since last Sunday. They're 0-2 without him. Overall, the Wolves are on a six-game losing streak and haven't earned a W since March 11.
Starting in Love's place will be the athletic youngster Anthony Randolph, a throw-in in the deal that sent Carmelo Anthony from Denver to New York last month. Randolph has thrived in Minnesota, especially in a starting role — he's averaging 27.5 points and 13.0 rebounds over his two starts.
Meanwhile, Rajon Rondo is out for the Celtics on Sunday night, taking a game off to rest his jammed pinkie finger. Both teams will be without their young stars. Delonte West, who's battled ankle troubles of his own, will start in Rondo's place.
Here's the lineup card for C's-Wolves:
Delonte West, PG
Ray Allen, SG
Paul Pierce, SF
Kevin Garnett, PF
Nenad Krstic, C
Luke Ridnour, PG
Wesley Johnson, SG
Michael Beasley, SF
Anthony Randolph, PF
Darko Milicic, C