Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 100, Timberwolves 79
Celtics 100, Timberwolves 79
In a duel between undermanned teams fighting to position themselves for the upcoming playoffs, the Boston Celtics dominated the Minnesota Timberwolves. It was such a dominant performance, in fact, that the Key Moment of this game took place when the margin was already nine points.
The Celtics led by 11 points at halftime but Minnesota came out and scored the first basket of the second half thanks to a running floater by Luke Ridnour. That, my friends, was as close as the Timberwolves would get.
Boston answered Ridnour’s basket with a 6-0 run that put the team ahead 62-47 with 8:36 remaining in the game. Rick Adelman called for a timeout, but the damage had already been done.
The run began when Avery Bradley picked off a pass by Wesley Johnson and tossed the ball ahead to Rajon Rondo. Rondo then patiently waited for things to develop in transition before eventually found Kevin Garnett for a thunderous alley-oop slam dunk.
That bucket was nice, but the run was just beginning. Paul Pierce scored the next basket for Boston when he opened up the bank and went glass with an 11-foot runner. The run was then capped off by a layup by Bradley that was assisted by, who else, Rondo.
Those three consecutive baskets put Boston ahead by 15 points and it never looked back from there. Minnesota never cut Boston's lead down to single-digits, and with that, the Celtics moved themselves into sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Division.
Key Box Score Line
If you didn’t happen to read today’s feature article on Kevin Garnett, you may have missed the fact that he is playing at nearly the exact same level he did during the 2007-08 season. If you need some quick proof of that fact, here it is.
Garnett returned to his old stomping grounds tonight in Minnesota and dominated a matchup with one of the NBA’s up-and-coming superstars. Garnett outperformed Kevin Love by a landslide in the eye test, and did so statistically in nearly every category. Boston’s new starting center scored 24 points on 12-of-18 shooting, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out four assists. Compare those numbers to Love’s, which were 22 points on 5-of-18 shooting to go along with 11 rebounds and three assists.
It’s clear who won this matchup, and his name is Kevin Garnett.
The Big Ticket dominated in all facets of the game, from scoring with efficiency to attacking the glass to playing shutdown defense against the league’s third-leading scorer. That sentence is something you could have said every night in 2007-08, right? Well, we’re saying it again in 2012.
Box Score Nuggets
- Two Celtics, Kevin Garnett (24 points) and Paul Pierce (21 points) scored at least 20 points.
- The two teams tied with 45 rebounds apiece.
- Garnett (24 points and 10 rebounds) and Kevin Love (22 points and 11 rebounds) were the only two players who logged double-doubles.
- Rajon Rondo dished out 17 assists, which was two more than Minnesota's entire team accounted for.
- Rondo also only committed two turnovers.
- Four of Boston's five starters grabbed at least six rebounds. Avery Bradley was the only starter who did not.
- Bradley did, however, score 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
- Bradley and Rondo each grabbed three steals.
- The Timberwolves committed 21 turnovers in the game.
- Boston committed just nine turnovers, which led to only three points for Minnesota.
- Greg Stiemsma and Keyon Dooling scored eight points apiece for the C's off the bench.
- Stiemsma also grabbed five rebounds and blocked two shots.
- Stiemsma was the only player in the game to be whistled for more than four fouls. He fouled out in 27:22 of playing time.
- Minnesota shot just 34.7 percent from the field.
- The Timberwolves did not outscore the Celtics in any of the four quarters.
- Minnesota's only lead of the game came when the score was 2-0.
- The final score of the game accounted for Boston's biggest lead of the night at 21 points.
Quote of the Night
Kevin Garnett on slowing down Kevin Love: "We already know how Kevin goes is how the Timberwolves go, so we knew if we slowed him down we had a good chance to open up the game, and we did."