Before the game, expectations were high for the Celtics to blow this one out. The Wolves had only won 7 games. They are a young team and the Celtics are a veteran team. Should have been easy. But, this game was anything but easy. The Wolves kept it close all game and there were 30 lead changes and 22 ties and neither team led by more than 6. The game went right down to the wire and it took a big error on the Wolves part and last second heroics by KG to pull out the 87-86 win over the young Timberwolves.
The Celtics really did not play well and it didn't have anything to do with the Wolves' defense. They played sloppy, turning the ball over 23 times. They lacked defensive energy and they had no flow to their offense. There were some tense minutes in this game as Kevin Garnett came up limping and holding his stomach in the 4th quarter. He left the game and went back to the locker room.Dickerson said that he went down on one knee and could barely get up. He came back out after 4 minutes, though, and begged Doc to let him go into the game. The team doctor gave him the ok to return, while the trainer gave thumbs down to a return. KG won out and came back into the game to grab 2 crucial rebounds in the final 2 minutes. He was still holding his stomach after one of the rebounds. On the last play of the game, Celtics were up by 1 and Perk and Rondo doubled Al so that he couldn't get a shot off. Al passed out to Bassy around the top of the arc. KG then poked the ball away and dove to the floor and retrieved it, passing it ahead to Rondo to seal the victory.
KG was playing on adrenalin at the end of the game. After the game, he was walking around the court holding out the Celtics on his Jersey and screaming. He was definitely pumped. Hopefully, the injury wasn't serious and he will have no ill effects from it as we can't afford to lose him for any length of time. They said it was an abdominal strain, but I remember Kandi missing much of last season with an abdominal tear that he suffered in a similar manner. KG finished with 10 points, 16 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. In his post game press conference, he had this to say:
"I wasn't going to do anything that would to jeopardize my future. But my philosophy has always been that if I can play, if I can run, if I can move, if I can blink, if I can wake up in the morning, I'm going to play. It felt like I got sniped from the rafters or something, you know," Garnett said. "I just had a sharp pain come from my stomach and I just wanted the doctors to look at it. They looked at it and said I was fine, so I came back out."
Kendrick Perkins came through with a big game for the second time in a week, scoring 21 points, pulling down 4 rebounds, and blocking 3 shots in 27 minutes. He also played great defense on Big Al, holding him to only 15 points and 5 rebounds. He made a couple of big plays down the stretch to help pull out the win. With 16.6 seconds left in the game, Ray Allen drove to the hoop and missed a layup. Perk was there to grab the rebound in traffic and lay it in to give the Celtics a 1 point lead. He also played solid defense on the last play, preventing Al from getting a shot off.
Paul Pierce filled up the stat sheet and did a little of everything finishing with 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists. He turned the ball over 6 times, however. Ray Allen continues with his shooting woes, going 4-18 from the field for 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. He also had 5 turnovers. He missed wide open shots including several missed layups. Makes me wonder if the injuries are still bothering him. Ray could definitely benefit from resting over the All Star break. Rondo struggled again defensively, allowing Telfair to get past him and to score 18 points. Rondo finished with 4 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 1 block.
Leon Powe once again made the most of his minutes, scoring 7 points, pulling down 2 rebounds and blocking a shot in just 11 minutes. Big Baby brought energy to the second unit, diving for loose balls and at one time going down very hard on a rebound. He finished with 4 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist in 20 minutes. Tony had several nice drives to the basket and did a good job on the boards, finishing with 7 points, 6 rebounds and 1 steal. House, like Ray, had an off shooting night, going 1-4 from the floor and finishing with 3 points, 1 steal and 1 block. Scal, Posey, Pruitt and Pollard did not play.
The Celtics shot only 42% while holding the Wolves to 41%. The Celtics won the battle of the boards, pulling down 47 rebounds to 35 for the Wolves. The Celtics also had 48 points in the paint compared to 34 for the Wolves. What hurt the Celtics were their 23 turnovers as they played a very sloppy game. They also played defense in just short spurts. KG shot only 5 shots in the game and hit 4 of them. This is inexcusable, especially when he had a mismatch and had 4 inches on the player guarding him. They should have been going to KG all game long. The trash talk returned in this game as KG and Big Al were given technicals in the third quarter. Tony and Antoine were also jawing at each other. This sets the table for a huge matchup with this team on February 8 in Minnesota. The Celtics face the Magic in Orlando on Sunday and they will be embarrassed if they don't figure out what is wrong with their defense and fix it.