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Fourth-Quarter Run Leads Celtics Over Wolves
Web Editorial Associate
The Minnesota Timberwolves played impressive basketball in the first three quarters Monday night against the Boston Celtics, playing well on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
The fourth quarter, well, that was a different story.
Boston outscored Minnesota 31-12 in the fourth quarter to erase a 13-point and come away with a 99-93 win at the Target Center.
“That was the first game that (losing a lead) happened in the fourth. The problem for us had been in the third (quarter),” Wolves head coach Tom Thibodeau said after the game. “We ended the third with a shot that we shouldn’t have given them, so it started there and then snowballed.”
With the Wolves up 81-68 after three quarters, the Celtics opened up the fourth quarter on a 17-0 run to take the lead and not look back. Minnesota shot 5-for-25 (20 percent) in the final quarter, while Boston shot 10-for-18 (55.6 percent).
“Actually, the fourth quarter we have played rather well in all year,” Thibodeau said. “We have to understand that the intensity and decision-making is different in the fourth.”
The Wolves were led by Karl-Anthony Towns with 27 points and 18 rebounds. Gorgui Dieng had 20 points and 10 rebounds, Andrew Wiggins had 14 points and four rebounds, Nemanja Bjelica had 10 points off the bench, and Ricky Rubio added seven points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
Minnesota shot 36-of-86 (41.9 percent) from the field and struggled from behind the arc, finishing 4-of-24 (16.7 percent) from deep.
Crafty point guard Isaiah Thomas had 29 points to lead the Celtics. Al Horford had 20 points, six rebounds and five assists, Avery Bradley had 13 points, and Terry Rozier had 12 points and four rebounds off the bench.
Boston finished 38-for-84 (45.2 percent) from the field in the game. They shot 12-for-38 (31.6 percent) from deep.
“For three quarters, I thought our defense was pretty good. They were shooting a low percentage, the line was covered, the rebounding was good,” Thibodeau said. “But it doesn’t take much for a team to get on track. Once they got a couple, they started getting good looks and we started scrambling and they made us pay.”
The Wolves drop to 4-9 on the season, while the Celtics improve to 8-6 overall.
“It shows you that you can never let your guard down and you have to strive to be a 48-minute team,” Thibodeau said. “We are not doing that right now. We have to get back in, we have to work, we have to concentrate, we have to improve.”
Highlight of the Game
With 5:56 left in the third quarter, LaVine drove from the three-point line to finish with an acrobatic left-handed layup to put the Wolves up 67-55.
The Numbers Game
· Minnesota held a 58-34 advantage over Boston in points in the paint.
· The Celtics finished 11-for-14 (78.6 percent) from the free throw line. The Wolves shot 17-for-25 (68 percent) from the line.
· Minnesota outrebounded Boston 51-39 in the game.
· Boston’s bench outscored Minnesota’s bench 31-14, led by Rozier’s 12 points. Bjelica led the Wolves’ bench with 10 points.
Player of the Game
Monday night’s Wolves Player of the Game is Karl-Anthony Towns.
Towns finished the game with 27 points, 18 rebounds and three assists. He scored 16 of his 27 points in the opening half.
The second-year big man shot 11-of-19 from the field and 2-of-4 from behind the arc.
The Wolves will travel to New Orleans to take on the Pelicans at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Smoothie King Center. The game will be aired on ESPN and 830 WCCO.