The bad news: The Boston Celtics’ frontcourt has struggled since Kelly Olynyk went down just before the All-Star break with a shoulder injury, and Monday’s loss to the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves continued that trend. The good news: After waiving David Lee, Boston has an open roster spot if it wants to address said issue.
According to a recent report, it appears Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is considering doing just that.
The Celtics are one of three teams who have expressed interest in signing free agent power forward Reggie Evans, Basketball Insiders’ Moke Hamilton reported Monday morning. The Houston Rockets and Miami Heat are the other two teams, per Hamilton.
At 35 years old, Evans isn’t exactly a game-changer, and he averaged just 3.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game for the Sacramento Kings last season before failing to find a team to start the 2015-16 season.
But the veteran big man has made his mark over the years as a strong rebounder and above-average defender, two things the Celtics certainly could use given how they’ve been playing recently.
Let’s hit a few other notes from Celtics-Timberwolves:
— There were many reasons why the Celtics fell short in Minnesota, but their penchant for fouling is near the top of the list.
Boston committed 27 fouls to Minnesota’s 17, as the Wolves went 30-for-40 from the free-throw line while the Celtics converted 14 of just 17 attempts. Isaiah Thomas, by far the team leader in free throw attempts this season, didn’t go to the line once.
“It?s something we talk about very consistently and it?s become frustrating,? head coach Brad Stevens said of Boston’s high foul numbers, via WEEI.com. “You have to be able to play without fouling. You have to be able to execute with body positioning and defend screens appropriately and use the right techniques and not foul. You have to do it. If you don?t, it?s just more points for the other team.”
— The Celtics still had a chance to win trailing by two points with five seconds left, but guard Marcus Smart tried to do it himself, taking the ball coast-to-coast and heaving a deep 3-pointer that missed its mark with one second remaining. But if Smart’s teammates had any problem with the 21-year-old’s decision, they didn’t mention it.
“The last play, or anything like that, that wasn?t the reason we lost the game,” guard Avery Bradley said in a postgame interview on CSN New England. “We just weren?t playing hard enough on a consistent basis.”
— Karl-Anthony Towns dominated with 28 points and 13 rebounds to help a team with the NBA’s fifth-worst record beat the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. Despite all that, the Celtics’ late comeback still didn’t sit well with the Timberwolves rookie center.
“I’m upset,” Towns said, via NBA.com. “It’s hard to smile after a game like this. It should’ve never got to that point. We’ve just got to be better.”
— Apparently the Celtics don’t like playing in Minnesota. Monday’s loss marked Boston’s fourth consecutive game loss at the Target Center. The C’s haven’t won in Minnesota since March 30, 2012, when current Wolves veteran Kevin Garnett played for Boston.
— Monday’s loss, the Celtics’ second in three games, bumped the club out of the No. 3 seed in the East, as the Miami Heat overtook them by downing the Indiana Pacers in overtime. Boston plays seven of its next eight games at home, though, including a Saturday matinee against that Miami club.
— Lee now is a member of the Dallas Mavericks after signing a prorated contract with the club earlier Monday, and it appears he’s wasting little time with the transition.
Thumbnail photo via Ed Szczepanski/USA TODAY Sports Images