Celtics-Timberwolves Live: Boston Wins 114-98 Day After Rajon Rondo Trade

Zack Cox Fri, Dec 19, 20142:55pm

2:45 p.m. ET: A new day dawns Friday on Causeway Street. 

With Rajon Rondo now a member of the Dallas Mavericks, the Boston Celtics officially have no remaining pieces from the squad that won the franchise’s last NBA title in 2008. 

Tasked with leading the Celtics into this new frontier will be someone who might not even play when Boston hosts the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night — rookie point guard Marcus Smart. He has missed the last two games with an Achilles strain, and although he practiced Thursday, head coach Brad Stevens has yet to confirm whether Smart will make his return to game action against the T-Wolves. 

If Smart cannot go, Evan Turner likely will run the point for the C’s. 

The trio Boston acquired in the Rondo deal — point guard Jameer Nelson, center Brandan Wright and forward Jae Crowder — might be in attendance at TD Garden but will not be available to play, Stevens said Friday morning on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Gresh & Zolak.”

We’ll bring you the starting lineups for both teams as they become available. 

Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Follow along with all the action right here, and follow NESN.com Celtics beat writer Zack Cox on Twitter for instant updates and analysis.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images

Zack Cox Fri, Dec 19, 20145:09pm

5 p.m.: The TD Garden video board lists Marcus Smart as the Celtics’ starting point guard, so it looks like he will indeed suit up tonight. 

Rondo has not entirely left the building, though. 

Zack Cox Fri, Dec 19, 20146:02pm

6 p.m.: Scratch that last entry. Brad Stevens said in his pregame news conference that Marcus Smart will play tonight, but Evan Turner will start at point guard. 

Zack Cox Fri, Dec 19, 20147:32pm

7:26 p.m.: OK, we’re just about ready to get things started here at TD Garden.

Here are your starting lineups:

Celtics
Evan Turner
Avery Bradley
Jeff Green
Jared Sullinger
Tyler Zeller

Timberwolves
Zach LaVine
Shabazz Muhammad
Andrew Wiggins
Thaddeus Young
Gorgui Dieng

The 5-19 T-Wolves have come out on the losing end in nine of their last 10 games and no longer have the services of shooting guard Corey Brewer. Brewer, who started 16 of Minnesota’s first 24 games, was traded to the Houston Rockets earlier today. 

Zack Cox Fri, Dec 19, 20147:40pm

First quarter 11:59, 0-0: Tyler Zeller wins the opening tip for the Celtics, and we are underway. 

Zack Cox Fri, Dec 19, 20147:53pm

First quarter 5:59, T-Wolves 13-12: Both sides are off to slow starts in the scoring department. 

Avery Bradley has been doing the bulk of the shooting for the Celtics (seven of the team’s nine shots have been his), and he leads the team in both points (six) and rebounds (three) so far. 

There seems to be a bit of miscommunication between the Celtics and Evan Turner, who air-mailed his first pass into the stands and has yet to record an assist. He heads to the bench as Marcus Smart checks in for the first time tonight. 

Zack Cox Fri, Dec 19, 20147:58pm

First quarter 2:31, 18-18: Kelly Olynyk is off to another hot start for the C’s. The big man, who’s performed well in each of the last two games, has six points on 3-of-4 shooting and three rebounds in his first four minutes of floor time. 

Zack Cox Fri, Dec 19, 20148:05pm

End of the first quarter, Celtics 27-24: Kelly Olynyk’s 11 points power the Celtics to a three-point advantage after one. As for who’s been doing the facilitating in Rondo’s absence, well, it’s been a little bit of everybody. Brandon Bass is the only Celtics player who’s played tonight and does not have an assist. 

Zack Cox Fri, Dec 19, 20148:15pm

Second quarter 8:17, Celtics 35-32: Marcus Smart has picked up the first technical foul of his career — from the bench. He has one tech and two personal fouls in his first seven minutes of action. 

Zack Cox Fri, Dec 19, 20148:26pm

Second quarter 2:49, 43-43: Kelly Olynyk is the only Celtics player to have much success on the offensive end tonight. He has almost as many made baskets (six) as Boston’s starting five combined (nine). 

Of course, everyone wants to know how Rondo’s replacements are faring so far. Well, not particularly well. Marcus Smart, Evan Turner and Phil Pressey have combined for seven points, four assists, three rebounds and a steal, and Smart has yet to attempt a shot. 

Zack Cox Fri, Dec 19, 20148:31pm

Halftime, Celtics 53-48: The Celtics lead it by five heading into the half, thanks to 14 points by Kelly Olynyk and 10 from Avery Bradley. Shabazz Muhammad leads the T-Wolves with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting, while Andrew Wiggins has struggled, hitting just one of his seven shots to head into the break with just two points. 

Zack Cox Fri, Dec 19, 20148:46pm

Third quarter 11:59, Celtics 53-48: The T-Wolves bring the ball up the floor to begin the second half.

Zack Cox Fri, Dec 19, 20148:50pm

Third quarter 9:05, Celtics 59-56: Evan Turner began to turn it on in the final minutes of the second and has continued that early in the third. He’s up to 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting. 

Zack Cox Fri, Dec 19, 20149:02pm

Third quarter 2:39, Celtics 77-69: The Celtics’ bigs have come up big here in the third. Tyler Zeller and Jared Sullinger each have eight points in the frame, and Sullinger has grabbed three rebounds to up his total to a game-high seven. 

Zack Cox Fri, Dec 19, 20149:24pm

End of the third quarter, Celtics 83-77: The Celtics lead it by six as we head to the fourth. Kelly Olynyk scored just two points in the third but still leads all C’s players with 16 points for the game. 

Zack Cox Fri, Dec 19, 20149:28pm

Fourth quarter 5:26, Celtics 100-92: The T-Wolves got to within three, but a corner three by Marcus Smart as the shot clock expired, followed by a Jeff Green fast-break dunk, gave the Celtics some breathing room. The trey gave Smart his first points of the game. 

The Celtics now have six players in double figures, including all five starters. 

Zack Cox Fri, Dec 19, 20149:33pm

Fourth quarter 1:58, Celtics 110-95: Smart has come out firing, and it looks as if the Celtics will be able to pull this one out. Smart has eight points in the fourth quarter, including two big threes. 

Zack Cox Fri, Dec 19, 20149:38pm

Final, Celtics 114-98: And that will do it. The Celtics begin life without Rajon Rondo by knocking off the Minnesota Timberwolves for their third straight win. 

Six Celtics scored in double figures in the contest, with Kelly Olynyk leading the way with 21 points off the bench. 

The C’s now travel to the Sunshine State, where they’ll take on the Miami Heat on Sunday. 

Zack Cox Fri, Dec 19, 201410:10pm

Second quarter 2:49, 43-43: Kelly Olynyk is the only Celtics player to have much success on the offensive end tonight. He has almost as many made baskets (six) as Boston’s starting five combined (nine). 

Of course, everyone wants to know how Rondo’s replacements are faring so far. Well, not particularly well. Marcus Smart, Evan Turner and Phil Pressey have combined for seven points, four assists, three rebounds and a steal, and Smart has yet to attempt a shot. 

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