Game Preview: Celtics at Timberwolves

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics (1-5) will play their second consecutive game in Canada tonight, but this one has a twist.

Tonight’s game will not be played in Toronto, which is the home of the only Canadian franchise in the NBA. Instead, Boston will take on Minnesota (2-2) at 6 p.m. tonight in Montreal’s Bell Centre.

The Celtics last played on Wednesday night in Toronto when they fell to the Raptors, 99-97. Brad Stevens gave the team Thursday off, and the past two days were used to get better on the practice floor.

Consecutive practices have been hard to come by for this Celtics team. They began their preseason schedule by playing six games in nine days. With two days of preparation, Boston feels that it has built up some momentum heading into tonight’s contest.

“I felt like we practiced hard today,” Avery Bradley said on Saturday. “We’re just continuing to build as a team and hopefully it translates to the game tomorrow.”

The Celtics will certainly need to bring their A-game to knock off this Timberwolves squad. Recent records may not show it, but Minnesota boasts one of the most talented rosters in the league. It has a bona fide star in Kevin Love and a host of other great talents. Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic have proven to be three of the most effective players at their position over the past few seasons.

Rubio was a hot topic following Boston’s practice on Saturday. Many people are intrigued by the possible matchup of Bradley versus Rubio. Bradley is known around the league for his defense, while Rubio is known for his dazzling passes and ball handling. Bradley was asked about the challenge of facing off with Rubio.

“He’s a very good player,” said Bradley. “Great passer, one of the good young point guards in the NBA, and I’m just excited to get a chance to play against him tomorrow, preseason or not.”

While Bradley and the rest of us wait to see those two guards face off, Stevens gave a quiet hint on Saturday that Bradley and Rubio may not match up as often as we’d expect.

“Well if they guard each other, that would be interesting matchup, and they might,” Stevens said.

Stevens went on to discuss what each player brings to the table for their respective teams.

“I think Rubio is a very good player. I think Avery is a good player,” he said. “Rubio is a very unique point guard in that he’s probably more of that traditional, pure point that people talk about. And Avery is probably that combo-type guy. But both of them have a lot of good impact on the game.”

The lucky residents of Montreal will be able to get a first-hand look at those two players when the Celtics and Timberwolves square off this evening.