Make that three in a row for Boston.
The Celtics seem to be finding their groove, delivering a solid game on both ends of the floor in their 118-109 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night at Target Center. Gordon Hayward had a huge night, knocking down a season-high 30 points, while Kyrie Irving (21), Al Horford (15), Jayson Tatum (19) and Marcus Morris (16) all scored double-digits in the win.
Marcus Smart started his third straight game and continued to make an impact on the court, breaking up an Andrew Wiggins pass that resulted in a potential play of the year.
The Timberwolves made it interesting in the fourth when they tied the game just four minutes in, but Boston held them off and continued to build its lead en route to victory.
With the win, Boston improved to 13-10, while Minnesota slipped to 11-12.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Marcus Morris
C: Al Horford
OFFENSE COMES OUT STRONG
The Celtics made the final six minutes of the opening quarter count.
Down by seven, something sparked Boston’s offense as it went on a 22-10 run with 5:54 remaining to take a slim 29-26 lead as time expired. Irving paced all scorers with nine points with Horford right behind him at seven.
Smart had six points in the opening 12 minutes, thanks in part to knocking down two 3-pointers as he continued to be a force as a starter. Boston shot 55 percent from the field, helping it secure the advantage heading into the second.
Hayward was strong off the bench with six points. He and Daniel Theis were the only reserves to score for the C’s in the first.
HAYWARD STAYS HOT
The Celtics made easy work of Minnesota in the second, going on a 9-0 run in just 90 seconds.
Marcus Morris nailed two 3’s while Irving drained one from distance to widen Boston’s lead. Hayward continue to be a force as a reserve. After knocking down six first-quarter points, he added to that total with eight more, going 2-for-2 from downtown.
Hayward led his teammates with 13 points, adding six rebounds and three assists to his totals, while Irving had 12 points at halftime. Derrick Rose paced Minnesota with 12 points, but his team found itself down 57-48 after 24 minutes thanks to some unforced turnovers Boston capitalized on.
SMART MAKES HIGHLIGHT-REEL PLAY
Boston continued to put away the Timberwolves, but the play of the third, maybe even the game, came just four minutes into the quarter.
Smart broke up a pass from Wiggins and slung the ball up court from the ground, paving the way for a beautiful sequence ending with a Tatum dunk. He had a strong period for the Green, nailing 11 points while Horford (15), Irving (16) and Hayward (13) all had double-figures heading into the fourth up 84-77.
MINNESOTA MAKES IT INTERESTING
The Timberwolves trailed most of the game, but tied the game at 89 with 8:42 remaining after going on a 10-0 run.
Morris knocked down a three almost immediately after to give Boston back the lead, eventually scoring the next five points for the Celtics. Terry Rozier finished off a dunk after a pass from Hayward, forcing Minnesota to call a timeout. The Timberwolves regained their composure, pulling within two in the final three minutes.
But Boston, again, extended its lead and put the game away for good, 118-109.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Oh my, Marcus.
The Celtics return home Thursday for a date with the New York Knicks. Tip-off from TD Garden is set for 8 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Harrison Barden/USA TODAY Sports Images
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