Wolves' 2nd Half Push Leads To 106-88 Win Over Celtics

Wolves' 2nd Half Push Leads To 106-88 Win Over Celtics

If we’ve learned anything this season, it’s that the Minnesota Timberwolves can put up points.

The Boston Celtics found that out the hard way, as the Wolves outscored the Celtics 34-20 in the third quarter, helping them come away with a 106-88 victory.

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Wolves vs. Celtics

The victory was an important one as Minnesota lost the first game of a back-to-back last night to the Denver Nuggets.

“They competed the whole game, I was glad to see us come back in the third quarter and open it back up,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said.

Minnesota got off to another hot start, outscoring Boston 33-24 in the first. Despite shooting 1-of-5 from the field, Martin led the team with eight points. He was 6-of-6 from the free-throw line.

The Wolves held a 17-point lead in the second quarter, but Boston fought back and got it within five at half, trailing 55-50.

The third quarter, though, is what did the Celtics in. The trio of Martin, Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic combined for 28 points in the quarter while shooting 9-of-14. In the quarter, Minnesota shot 50 percent compared to Boston’s 34.8 percent. Ricky Rubio had four assists in the quarter as well.

The Wolves were able to sub in the reserves late in the game, giving the main rotation guys a rest — especially after playing five games in seven days.

Love led Minnesota with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Pekovic also had a double-double, finishing with 20 points and 12 rebounds. After starting off 1-for-5, Martin picked it up and finished with 20 points to go along with six rebounds.

Boston was led by Avery Bradley, who finished with a game-high 27 points. Brandon Bass scored 15 points while Jordan Crawford added 10.

Minnesota’s bench play, which has been a concern for the Wolves, was solid on Saturday night. Robbie Hummel, Dante Cunningham and J.J. Barea combined for 33 points. Cunningham was especially impressive, finishing with 12 points, five rebounds and five steals.

“I’m out there to play defense, rebound and hustle,” Cunninham said. “You know, do the energy thing, my offense will come along regardless.”

Things won’t get any easier for the Wolves. Starting Tuesday, the Wolves play four games in five days.

"Our schedule is brutal right now. Feels like we're playing every day,” Martin said.

The Wolves now sit at 7-4 overall, and as of Friday night, that was good for the fifth spot in the Western Conference.

Leader(s) of the Pack: Nikola Pekovic

The big fella found his groove on Saturday night. After starting the season a bit off, there was nothing off about Pekovic’s game against Boston. The center scored 20 points to go along with 12 rebounds, good for his fourth double-double of the season. He was about as efficient as he could be, shooting 8-of-9 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free-throw line.

“Yeah, he was on the boards,” Adelman said. “… Eight offensive rebounds… They had a hard time guarding him and you know, especially hurting his ankle last night in a back-to-back, it was nice to see him come out and play like that.”

Highlight of the Night

With 1:51 left in the first quarter, Rubio did something that Wolves fans have grown to love and have gotten used to. Rubio was one-on-one with Boston guard MarShon Brooks. Rubio dribbled with his right hand, did a head fake to the left and Brooks bit hard. It resulted in an easy layup for Rubio and gave the Wolves a 27-20 first quarter lead.

The Numbers Game

  • Pekovic failed to have a free-throw attempt in his two games previous to Saturday. That changed against Boston, though, as Pekovic got to the line five times.

  • Sitting at 7-4, the Wolves matched the second-best start in franchise history (7-4 in 2000-01, 8-3 in 1998-99).

  • With his free throw with 8:54 left in the third, Love (1,464 points) surpassed Christian Laettner (1,463 points) for third all-time in franchise history in made free throws.

  • Surprise: Rubio had a steal. He has now had at least one steal in 32 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NBA. His 3.09 steals per game leads the league.

  • Minnesota had 52 points in the paint compared to Boston’s mark of 28.

  • Postgame Podcast

    with John Focke

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    Quote of the Night

    “We were just better tonight then we were last night. And guys, you know, they pushed themselves through the fatigue and did enough to get a good win.” — Rick Adelman on his team’s performance after playing two nights in a row.

    Looking Ahead

    The Wolves will hit the road on Tuesday to face John Wall and the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. on Fox Sports North Plus and WCC0 830-AM. Minnesota will then bolt back to Minneapolis to play the Clippers on Wednesday night at the Target Center.

    For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com