Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Celtics
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Minnesota Timberwolves (26-46) vs Boston Celtics (38-35) — 7:00 PM Target Center
Where to Watch: My29
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
View Timberwolves Game Notes
Got questions during tonight’s game? Send them to Wolves Radio via Twitter using the hash tag #WolvesRadio!
A return to Target Center for former Wolves forward Kevin Garnett and his Celtics has normally meant him facing off with Kevin Love; tonight, both stars will be in street clothes, symbolic of the injuries that these two squads have faced all year. Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM on My29 and 830 WCCO-AM.
Boston is visiting perhaps the only other NBA team that knows what it has gone through in terms of the injury bug. Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and now Paul Piece will be on the Celtics’ injury report along with key substitute Jared Sullinger. Rondo and Sullinger are both out for the season while Garnett’s back has pestered him since March 22. Pierce was noted to have some swelling in his ankle last night, and it is possible that Doc Rivers will save him against the Timberwolves, according to the Boston Globe.
These injuries change the entire outlook of the Celtics, and they mean that Avery Bradley (9.1 PPG), Brandon Bass (8.2 PPG), Jeff Green (12.1 PPG), Jason Terry (10.3 PPG) and Courtney Lee will start. Boston has played their way into the No. 7 playoff seed in the East, and they have lost six of their most eight recent contests. With longtime Celtic Pierce out of tonight’s lineup, role players will have to step up into more prominent roles.
Last Time Out: Dec. 5, 2012
Kevin Garnett scored 18 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and remained undefeated against his former team when the Celtics beat the Wolves 104-94 on Dec. 5.
"We established the post, I thought, early on. I thought defensively we played with a lot of energy," Garnett said. "We made them go to their second and third options, which is something they don't like to do."
Whether he was driven by memories or his normal, ultra-competitive nature, Garnett came out and hustled from start to finish.
"He's intense," Wolves forward Kevin Love said. "He's K.G. He's a guy that, defensively, he'll clamp down on you. He didn't leave me out there more than once tonight, really clamped in."
Love went for 19 points and 13 rebounds in TD Garden, helped out by 14 and nine from Nikola Pekovic.
Just one night after hitting a season-high for 3-pointers, Minnesota made 6-of-19 from long distance. It also converted just 14-of-30 from the charity stripe.
"We're not going to win if we miss 16 free throws or whatever it was,” J.J. Barea said. “That's terrible.”
Paul Pierce added in 18 and Rajon Rondo and Jason Terry each scored 17 for the Celtics.
Key Matchup: Jeff Green and Andrei Kirilenko
For a guy who missed all of 2011-2012 with a heart condition Jeff Green is making up for lost time as he is just one of three Celtics players who have played in all 73 games this season. He’s averaging 12.1 a game, including a monster 43-point outburst against the Miami Heat on March 18. Shooting 48.5 percent from the field, Green brings consistency to a club that has been plagued with injuries much like the Wolves have.
Matched up on Green will be Andrei Kirilenko, defensive ace for the Wolves. You would assume that Green might be easier to guard than recent assignments Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant, but Kirilenko has played five games in the last week. Fatigue is sure to set in, although he seems well-conditioned after returning from a minor injury earlier in March. Green has the most potential to go off against Minnesota, and it’s Kirilenko’s job to prevent that.
Injury report presented by TSR Injury Law
Wolves center Nikola Pekovic sat during Saturday’s loss to Memphis with a sprained left ankle, and he is questionable tonight against the Celtics. For Boston, Kevin Garnett has missed five straight games with a sore left ankle. Paul Pierce rolled his right ankle on Sunday against New York, and according to the Boston Globe, coach Doc Rivers said he will probably sit out tonight. Rajon Rondo (kee) and Jared Sullinger (back) are both likely out for the season.
|Tonight's Probable Starters|
|PG||Ricky Rubio||Avery Bradley|
|SG||Luke Ridnour||Courtney Lee|
|SF||Andrei Kirilenko||Jeff Green|
|PF||Derrick Williams||Brandon Bass|
|C||Nikola Pekovic||Chris Wilcox|