Scouting Report: Wolves (6-4) vs. Celtics (4-6) | Nov. 16, 2013
Timberwolves vs. Celtics | 7:00 PM — Target Center
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
The “Big Three” is no longer the staple of the Boston Celtics.
This offseason, the Celtics took on a new identity as they traded away future Hall of Fame players Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett along with Jason Terry for a variety of picks and players from the Brooklyn Nets.
Garnett and Pierce, along with coach Doc Rivers (now with Clippers) won the 2008 championship, but they’ve been stuck in no man’s land for the last two seasons in the East. It was decided in the offseason that the team would have to “blow” things up for the future of the team.
The other member of the most recent Celtics “Big Three” was Rajon Rondo. Rondo is still on team’s roster, but is out indefinitely recovering from a torn ACL.
That’s tough to argue with, especially looking at the stacked 2014 NBA draft class.
The Celtics are now looking towards the future with rookie head coach Brad Stevens and rookie center Kelly Olynyk.
Boston might be in for a pleasant surprise, though. With a 4-6 record, the Celtics currently are ninth in the Eastern Conference, just 1 ½ games back from the sixth seed.
Both teams played Friday night, so fatigue could play a factor. The Wolves were in Denver for Friday night’s game, while Boston hosted the Portland Trail Blazers.
The two teams last faced off on April 1 last season and Minnesota came away with a 110-100 win, despite being without Kevin Love.
Center Nikola Pekovic led the way with 29 points, while shooting 11-of-11 from the free-throw line. Dante Cunningham had a nice night off the bench, putting up 19 points. Andrei Kirilenko (now with Nets) finished with 17, while Derrick Williams and J.J. Barea each scored 11.
The Celtics were without Rondo, Pierce and Garnett. Avery Bradley had a team-high 19 points. Terry (and Terrence Williams both led the bench with 14 points. The Celtics lost, despite shooting 51.9 percent from the field.
The two teams split the two-game series last season.
This Week’s Results
The Timberwolves return home after falling to the Nuggets 117-113 on the road. The Wolves made a comeback attempt late, but Denver was able to put their divisional foes away with a surge late in the ballgame. Kevin Love had 28 point and 10 rebounds, Kevin Martin added 27 points and J.J. Barea had 21 points off the bench. For the Nuggets, Wilson Chandler had 19 points, Kenneth Faried had 16 points and Ty Lawson had 14. Andre Miller also had an important 13 points off the bench.
Previous to Denver, the Wolves dominated the Cleveland Cavaliers 124-95 behind 33 points, eight rebounds and six assists from Love. On Sunday and Monday, the Wolves split games against the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, respectively.
The Celtics are coming off a 109-96 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday Night, meaning they are also heading to the Twin Cities on a travel night. Jared Sullinger scored 26 points off the bench, while Jeff Green scored 14 and Jordan Crawford added 11 in the loss. LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points for the Blazers, while Nicolas Batum and Mo Williams each had 18.
On Wednesday, the Celtics dropped a game to the Charlotte Bobcats, 89-83. That loss came after beating the Magic 120-105.
What To Watch: Ricky Rubio vs. Avery Bradley
With Rondo’s injury, Bradley has seen an increase of playing time, with he and Jordan Crawford rotating at the point guard position. Bradley emerged onto the scene two seasons ago as a defensive-minded guard, but has improved his offense along the way.
He’s averaging a career-high 12.6 points per game to go along with 3.8 rebounds this season. In his one game against Minnesota last season, the 23-year-old guard scored 19 points.
Rubio has been hot of late, especially after his 16 assist game against the Cavaliers. This season, Rubio is averaging 9.4 points, 9.7 assists and an NBA-leading 3.3 steals per game. In two games against Boston last season, Rubio had nine points and 10 assists in his one game vs. the Celtics last season.
Former University of Minnesota Golden Gopher Kris Humphries was sent to Boston in the Garnett/Pierce trade. He’s playing 11.1 minutes per game and averaging four points to go along with 2.8 assist.
The Wolves will be without wing Chase Budinger, who is out while recovering from preseason left knee surgery. Center Ronny Turiaf is out with a radial head fracture. After missing last game with flu-like symptoms, Martin is expected to play. The Celtics will be without All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo (ACL). Forward Jared Sullinger (knee) is expected to play.