Wolves vs. Celtics Gameday
Final 95-78 Celtics
More postgame coming soon...
Third Quarter 71-49 Celtics
35-10 is all you need to know about this quarter. The Celtics jumped out of the locker room and dominated Minnesota by outscoring the Wolves by 25 points in the third period. The shooting percentage actually dipped to just 23 percent for Minnesota. Garnett started to thrill the crowd with an alley-oop dunk, a couple of blocked shots and eight points to increase his total to 17 for the game. The Wolves could simply not find the offensive touch and Wittman even used a two-guard lineup of Telfair and Foye in the backcourt.
A special treat for UFC and MMA fans as Brock Lesnar made an appearance at the Target Center to watch all the action. Check out my interview with the new UFC Heavyweight Champion.
Halftime 39-36 Wolves
The second period featured a surge for the Wolves second unit. Rodney Carney received some early minutes along with Craig Smith, Corey Brewer, Kevin Love, and Sebastian Telfair. The Celtics used their bench as well; they were not effective like Minnesota. Boston does not like when teams attack its aggressive defense. Kendrick Perkins picked up his third foul along with Leon Powe, which will be an advantage for the Wolves heading into the second half. For Minnesota, shooting 27 percent from the field and holding a three-point lead is a very positive sign. This low-scoring game does favor the Celtics with their stifling defense. Holding a half time lead is nothing new for the Wolves, this team will look to repeat its winning performance against Philadelphia with a strong second half. Jefferson leads Minnesota with 10 points while Garnett is the Celtics leading scorer with nine points.
First Quarter 22-21 Celtics
Garnett received a standing ovation during the announcement of the starters. All eyes were then focused on Garnett for the first couple of plays. Using his patent fadeaway jumper, Garnett missed the shot and the second, and then connected on a layup for his third. For the Wolves, Ryan Gomes got off to a great start with seven points on 3-of-4 shooting. Mike Miller added six points with the team shooting 36 percent. Boston was effective with a 52 percent clip from the field. Garnett finished the quarter with seven points to lead the Celtics. The Wolves will have a difficult time getting easy shots against this Boston squad. Doc Rivers has instilled a great defensive philosophy and this team rotates incredibly quick.
Pregame News and Notes - 6:45 PM
Get ready Wolves fans, this is the moment. Friday night...the defending World Champions…and oh yeah…that guy. Kevin Garnett takes the court at the Target Center for the first time since the trade and you can sense the anticipation in the building. Looking around the arena, Celtics No. 5 jerseys are visible along with the No. 21 Wolves jersey. The sell-out crowd is about to blow the roof off for the announcement of the starting lineups. Coach Randy Wittman discussed in his media pregame session the team is not concerned with Garnett but more amped to play against the champions. This will be one of the most interesting games of the season to gauge what type of heart this young team possesses. A fast start will certainly ignite the crowd, which could lead to a huge win for the Wolves.
Wolves Pregame Audio
Celtics Pregame Audio
Kevin Garnett TNT interview on facing Wolves
Voice of the Opposition
Peter Stringer - Celtics.com
As the Wolves set to start a new era of professional basketball in the Twin Cities, fans will glance back at the face of the franchise on Friday night. The 20th anniversary for the Wolves has seen the team struggle out of the gates with a 2-8 record. However, with the return of Kevin Garnett and a big win over Philadelphia on Wednesday night, the Target Center will be rocking at a fever pitch.
Boston is fresh off a home victory over the Detroit Pistons last night 98-80 with the Celtics improving to 11-2 on the season. The defending champions have showed no complacency this year; the team features a stifling defense that only allows 89.9 points a game, second best in the league. The Boston offense ranks 19th in the NBA with 95.8 points per game and the team only shoots 32 percent from the 3-point line.
The obvious story line for tonight's game is Garnett's appearance back in Minnesota. Garnett is an emotional player and the Wolves can use the home crowd to their advantage to get the former MVP off his game early in the contest. At the power forward position, Garnett averages 16 points and nine rebounds a game and will either face Al Jefferson or Jason Collins. The 13-year veteran, Garnett, will look to put his stamp on the game with rebounding and defense, most likely on Jefferson. After leading the Wolves to the 2004 Western Conference finals and earning the league MVP in a Minnesota uniform, this is must-see action tonight at the Target Center, with the return of No. 21...oops...No. 5.
Ryan Gomes played for the Celtics before the big trade along with Sebastian Telfair and Jefferson. Gomes is going to get the unenviable task of guarding the Finals MVP, Paul Pierce. The former Jayhawk is a dangerous player from the outside and uses his deceptive speed to get to the rack. Gomes is also a threat to hit jumpers but he will be relied on this evening to contain one of the best player's in the NBA. Pierce scored just nine points against the Pistons last night; he averages 20 points a game to lead Boston. He is the straw that stirs the drink for the Celtics and keeping Pierce in-check is necessary for a Wolves victory.
Tonight's game will also feature a great shooting match up in the backcourt tonight between two of the best long-ball shooters in the league. Mike Miller and Ray Allen will face one another as Miller holds a 3-inch height advantage. Allen surprisingly has only shot 29 percent from the 3-point line while Miller is draining 43 percent of his long distance shots. Both players like to work off screens and can swing momentum with a good shooting night.
Telfair and Randy Foye will take on Rajon Rondo and Eddie House for the Celtics. Rondo was masterful last night with 18 points and eight assists in the victory over the Pistons. Known for his tenacious defense, he also defended Allen Iverson and held him to just 16 points after a fast start for the former Nuggets guard. Foye presents a strength advantage much like Chauncey Billups for Denver. The Nuggets are one of two teams that defeated Boston this year. Foye cannot allow Rondo to get easy baskets on the offensive side of the floor. Rondo's strength is penetrating the defense and getting into the lane.
Ray Allen, SG
Rajon Rondo, PG
Kendrick Perkins, C
Kevin Garnett, PF
Paul Pierce, SF
Mike Miller, SG
Randy Foye, PG
Jason Collins, C
Al Jefferson, PF
Ryan Gomes, SF