The Minnesota Timberwolves carried into Wednesday the NBA’s worst record and a 10-game losing streak on their home floor.
None of that seemed to matter against a Boston Celtics team finishing up a grueling six-game Western Conference road trip. The Celtics looked understandably fatigued throughout and never seemed to find a rhythm in a 110-98 loss.
Take a look at some news and notes from the contest:
— Celtics coach Brad Stevens praised the freakish athleticism of Minnesota’s two 19-year-olds, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine. The rookies finished with 14 and 17 points, respectively, and teamed up on a slick, halfcourt alley-oop.
“They’re the most athletic guys out there, right?” Stevens said. “Or at least the biggest, most athletic guys. When you start talking about Wiggins and LaVine, you let those guys start feeling good, they can get to where they want to go. You have to make it as tough as possible.
“LaVine played great. I was really impressed. He did a great job. And then Wiggins I think salted it away with some good moves late. Those guys are good players, and their athleticism is elite.”
— The NBA announced Wednesday the rosters for the rookie-sophomore Rising Stars Challenge, and one fifth of the 20 players invited currently suit up for the Timberwolves. Joining Wiggins and LaVine will be center Gorgui Dieng (16 points, game-high 14 rebounds) and injured swingman Shabazz Muhammad.
— As if having an extremely young roster hasn’t made things difficult enough for the T-Wolves this season, they’ve also been decimated by injuries. Those injured players slowly are beginning to return, though, and two of them had big nights against the Celtics.
Veteran guard Kevin Martin led all scorers with 21 points off the bench in his first action after missing 34 games with a fractured wrist, and big man Nikola Mirotic, who’s been limited to 13 games this season, also due to a fractured wrist, added 14 points of his own.
“As they get healthier, it’s a different team than has played all year,” Stevens said. “Pekovic and Martin make a huge difference for them, and they played well (Wednesday).”
— Stevens has said he would prefer to cap his rotation at 10 players, but he played all 12 available bodies against the T-Wolves. Likely playing into that decision was the health of starting point guard Evan Turner, whose sprained right thumb appeared to be causing him some serious discomfort.
Turner, who did not play from the 7:39 mark of the third quarter to the 7:13 mark of the fourth, said after the game that he hopes to tough it out until the All-Star break.
“I understand the phrase ‘stick out like a sore thumb,'” he told reporters, “because this bad boy gets hit every other play. It is what it is. I’ve got like a week and a half until the All-Star break to really play through it, then hopefully give it some rest.”
The injury hasn’t stripped Turner of his sense of humor, though. He channeled his inner Marshawn Lynch while chatting with reporters at shootaround.
Chatting with media after shootaround this morning, Evan Turner smiles and says, "I'm just trying not to get fined."—
Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) January 28, 2015
— Think the Timberwolves still are salty about Kevin Love’s exit from Minnesota?
gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) January 29, 2015
Photo via Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports Images