The Celtics took over when they needed to Friday night.
Up by just three points with only four and a half minutes to play, they scored seven straight to build a double-digit lead with 2:16 left in the game. That lead was more than enough to carry them to their 12th win in their last 14 games.
The run opened with a layup from Daniel Theis off a pass from Gordon Hayward. Hayward and Theis had been taking it to Minnesota all night with the pick-and-roll, and they did so again on this play.
Just 27 seconds later, after D’Angelo Russell missed a shot for the Timberwolves, Marcus Smart found Jayson Tatum in transition for a 3-pointer from the right wing. Somehow, Minnesota had lost Boston’s leading scorer in transition and Tatum was left for a wide-open attempt – one he surely wasn’t going to miss.
Theis then capped the run at the 2:16 mark with a dunk that came off of yet another pass from Hayward. Theis rose up to catch the pass on a roll to the rim, hauled it in, then went up to throw down the slam that gave Boston a 121-111 lead.
The Celtics led by at least eight for the remainder of the game before closing out a 127-117 victory. That 7-0 run is what gave them the juice they needed to hold off a pesky Timberwolves team that had hung around all night.
The beauty of the Celtics is that on any night, one of their stars can take over. Friday night in Minneapolis, it was Gordon Hayward’s turn.
Hayward scored a game-high 29 points against the Timberwolves thanks to a super-efficient 12-for-17 shooting night. He made 10 of his 15 2-pointers, two of his four 3-pointers and three of his five free throws to account for his 29 points.
As per usual with Hayward, he also filled the box score in other areas. The talented wing dished out six assists to finish second on the team in that category, he hauled in five rebounds and he grabbed two steals at the defensive end.
Hayward is now shooting 51.1 percent from the field, 39.5 percent from 3-point range and 86.6 percent from the free-throw line this season. He’s just the latest star to take over a game for Boston and lead the C’s to a win.
Box Score Nuggets
- For the first time since 1960, the Celtics had four players score at least 25 points.
- Gordon Hayward led all scorers with 29 points, while Jayson Tatum and Malik Beasley were right behind him with 28 apiece.
- The two teams combined to commit only 18 turnovers - eight by Minnesota, and 10 by Boston.
- D'Angelo Russell led all players with 13 assists.
- Marcus Smart led Boston with 10 assists.
- Boston's bench scored only 10 points.
- Smart and Hayward were both plus-13s in the plus/minus category.
- Daniel Theis set new career highs with 25 points and 16 rebounds.
- Jaylen Brown scored 25 points.
- The C's outscored the Wolves 56-38 in the paint.
- James Johnson logged a game-high four blocked shots.
- Minnesota shot 15-for-42 from 3-point range.
Quote of the Night
That’s kind of the strength of our team, is the amount of guys that can go off at any point in time.
Gordon Hayward on the Celtics