Break out the broomsticks.
The Boston Celtics completed a regular-season sweep of the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night, earning a 117-109 victory at Target Center.
The Celtics employed a well-balanced attack in the tough road win. Kyrie Irving posted a team-high 23 points, but he was just one of six Boston players to score in double figures. Al Horford (20 points, eight rebounds) and Marcus Morris (17) also had big nights, each knocking down a number of clutch baskets.
With the win, the Celtics improve to 46-20, while the Timberwolves fall to 38-29.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Al Horford
C: Aron Baynes
Both teams had their shooting touch working in the first quarter, which concluded with the Celtics leading 35-28. Boston converted on 58 percents of its field-goal attempts, while Minnesota wasn’t too far behind with a 54 percent clip. The C’s demonstrated a balanced scoring attack in the opening frame, paced by Morris’ nine points off the bench. Boston’s defense subdued the Timberwolves’ star power early on, but Nemanja Bjelica was feeling it from deep, knocking down all three attempts from beyond the arc.
CELTICS EXTEND LEAD
After a back-and-forth first quarter, Boston jumped all over Minnesota in the second. The C’s limited the home team to just 18 points in the quarter and took a 60-46 lead into the break. Despite the T-Wolves’ imposing size, the Celtics still managed to grab the rebounding advantage by a 25-24 margin. Boston also kept its field-goal percentage above the 50-percent threshold in the first half, while Minnesota’s mark dipped to 43 percent after a lousy second quarter.
Morris remained the game’s leading scorer through two quarters with 14 points, while Irving also posted double figures with 11. Bjelica led the way for the Wolves with 13 points.
Boston took an 86-74 lead into the final quarter, but the on-court action hardly was the story of the third frame. Late in the quarter, Brown weaved his way through two Timberwolves and threw down a monster and-1 dunk. The Celtics guard failed to gain a firm grip on the rim though, resulting in a scary crash to the floor. Brown immediately went stiff after the fall and was checked on by the medical staff for several minutes. While a stretcher was brought onto the court following the apparent head injury, Brown managed to get to his feet and walk back to the locker room under his own power, and was monitored for concussion-like symptoms the remainder of the game.
The Timberwolves brought a heap of late-game energy in the fourth quarter, but the Celtics never wavered. Although Boston grew its lead to as large as 18 in the second half, Minnesota cut the deficit to as few as six with just over nine minutes to go in the fourth. That’s as close as the T-Wolves would get, though, as the C’s hung tough down the stretch. Boston’s stars delivered when it counted, as Horford (nine points) and Irving (eight points) helped the Celtics lock down the win with stellar fourth-quarter performances.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Marcus Smart climbed the ladder on this loud put-back slam:
The Celtics return home for a matchup with the Indiana Pacers on Sunday night. Tip-off from TD Garden is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports