Watch It! – Celtics at Timberwolves
Here are five things to watch out for when the Boston Celtics and the Minnesota Timberwolves meet at 8 p.m. tonight at Target Center.
The Rust has Been Shaken
Boston experienced a bit of rust when it emerged from the All-Star break Friday night. The Celtics shot just 37.0 percent from the field in a loss to Utah, which marked the their worst shooting percentage since Jan. 7. Their 30 field goal makes accounted for their second-lowest tally of the season.
Boston bounced back in a big way last night, however, as it shot 47-of-97 (48.5 percent) from the field in a dominating 121-101 win in Denver.
Six Celtics scored in double figures, and for the third time this month Boston cracked the 120-point mark.
It looked much more like the well-oiled machine that entered the All-Star break on a tear.
Thomas Seeking Friendly Revenge
Being the competitor that he is, it’s no surprise that Isaiah Thomas is still a little salty about coming in second place at the Skills Challenge during All-Star Weekend; even more so given the fact that he lost in the final to a rookie big man – Karl-Anthony Towns.
Now, he says he’s seeking revenge against the 20-year-old center in the form of a team ‘W’.
“Hopefully we get the win so I can get the last laugh,” Thomas playfully stated ahead of the game.
Towns had one of his best performances against the Celtics on Dec. 21 when he tallied 25 points, a game-high 16 rebounds and three blocks. Thomas, meanwhile, scored a season-low eight points during that contest, though he had the last laugh there as the C’s pulled off a 113-99 win at TD Garden.
IT has been on a tear of late, averaging 27.7 points and 9.7 assists per game during his last three contests, and he’s been embarrassing bigs in the paint with his blow-by layups. Expect more of the same tonight as he attempts to show off his skills against the 6-foot-11 rookie phenom.
Battle of the Best at the Line
One of the biggest pet peeves among basketball coaches is inefficient free throw shooting. Fortunately, C's coach Brad Stevens has not had any reason to fret in that department lately.
The Celtics have shot a league-best 82.1 percent from the line over their last 15 games, including a 17-of-20 performance during their latest outing in Denver.
That impressive effort paled in comparison to what Minnesota accomplished Friday night, however, when it made all 31 of its freebies against the Knicks.
The Timberwolves average the most free throw makes in the league (21.6 per game) and are second behind New York with a 79.8 percent clip from the line this season.
KG Doubtful to Play
Kevin Garnett did not suit up when the Timberwolves came to Boston in December, and it appears very likely that it will be the same story again tonight in Minnesota. Garnett has been battling right knee pain for the past month and has not played in a game since Jan. 23.
The former Celtic was healthy when Minnesota played at the Garden earlier this season, but was resting since he had played the previous night.
Garnett, in his 21st season, has averaged 3.2 points and 3.9 rebounds during 38 games.
Sully’s Magic Number
Jared Sullinger has been incredibly consistent on the boards lately: He's corralled 11 rebounds during each of his last four contests.
He’s notched precisely 11 boards in each of his last seven double-digit rebounding efforts and has reached that exact total in 12 of his 56 games this season.
Sully will look to reach that magic number again tonight when he squares off against Towns, who is by far the top rebounding rookie in the league (10.2 RPG).