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Nikola Pekovic erupted for 29 points and five rebounds, as the Timberwolves beat the Celtics, 110-100. Avery Bradley led the Celtics with 19 points, a night after scoring just two points and fouling out in a losing effort to the Knicks. Paul Pierce sat out Monday with what the team deemed, “Personal reasons.”
The key to this game was simple- the Timberwolves were the more aggressive team. The Timberwolves forced the Celtics to commit 9 more turnovers than them (17-8), and shot 27 free-throws to the Celtics’ 13.
The Celtics trailed by two at the end of the first quarter, and five and the half. Andrei Kirilenko opened the second half on a 40 second 5-0 run for the Wolves, and the home team would build as much as a 14 point lead in the quarter. The Celtics cut the lead to six to end the third, but the Wolves hit them hard again to start the fourth and secure the victory.
Terrence Williams had his best night as a Celtic, and went for 14 points, six rebounds, five assists, and a team-high +7 in the plus/minus category. Jason Terry also had 14 off the bench, and hit a few timely jumpers to keep the Celtics close. Jeff Green had 10 points, 7 assists, and five rebounds, but turned the ball over five times.
The Celtics’ loss, coupled with a Bucks’ win tonight, now has the Celtics just a game and a half up on the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bucks hold the tiebreaker over the Celtics should the two teams finish the season with the same record.
The Celtics are back home on Wednesday to host the Detroit Pistons. Pierce is expected back in uniform for that game.