The Celtics played their first game in five days as the Minnesota Timberwolves came to the TD Garden. This marked the first return of Greg Stiemsma coming back to Boston. While he wasn't the most important player last year, "Steamboat" quickly became a fan and team favorite due to his hard work and shot blocking ability. The night also marked the return of Rajon Rondo from his two game suspension and the team was back in full gear under his leadership.
The roster was reset to our normal starting five featuring Rajon Rondo, Jason Terry, Paul Pierce, Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett. All five starters played extremely well with everyone scoring in double digits. Of the starters Rondo and Terry tied for the team high in minutes at 38. Rondo didn't look like the time off affected him in the slightest, in fact, maybe the "time off in Mexico" did him well. He finished going 6-11 for 17 points and added 11 helpers. He also had some great highlight plays that we had been missing in his absence. Terry who nearly matched Rondo in the game shot 7-10 for 17 points while grabbing 5 boards.
Boston Celtics power forward Jeff Green, front left, drives against Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Dante Cunningham (33) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Paul Pierce played well overall although he did struggle from distance shooting just 1-6. It seemed like he forced some three point attempts coming off screens but overall he played well totaling 18 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists. The difference in the game was Kevin Garnett. He faced a tough task in guarding the T-Wolves star Kevin Love and also played well offensively. KG shot 8-13 for 18 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and 4 assists. Coming off the bench Jeff Green started off hot scoring 8 points in just 6 minutes of play. He looked aggressive and gave us hope that the player we've seen as of late is here to stay. Even Tommy was a believer after Jeff's first 6 minutes belting out "Green's in the building, and he's here to stay!" Unfortunately, in the remaining 17 minutes he played we didn't see much offensive output yet he did manage to contribute defensively and grabbed 4 rebounds with 2 assists.
Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce (34) reaches for the ball against Minnesota Timberwolves guard Luke Ridnour (13) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
The team trailed going into half 51-47 but came out strong and very efficient fueled by Brandon Bass. Bass struggled in the first half going 0-2 but came roaring back to start the third quarter 4-4 and made some great plays including a block and offensive rebound that assisted a JET three. From there the Celtics really opened the game up, lead by as much as 17 points, and never turned back. The Timberwolves played pretty well overall as well yet were held to 44% shooting to Boston's 52.6%. Coming into the game there was a big focus on the Celtic's struggles with rebounding and Kevin Love's tremendous rebounding skill. He received much praise from Doc and Paul Pierce in pregame comments and didn't disappoint. Love went 6-15 on the night for 19 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 assists. The Wolves ended up losing the overall rebound battle 45-41 in favor of the Celtics. They did shoot 6 more times than the Celtics largely due to winning the offensive glass 13-6 and the steals column 11 to 6. Overall great start to life after Rondo's suspension. Many players expressed the need or goal to string together an eight to ten game win streak. After tonight game one is in the books and hopefully the team can continue rolling. The Celtics' next game comes on Friday as the team plays their first of two back to back games against the 76ers. The team will travel to Philly for Friday's game and return home with them to play again on Saturday, tune in at 7:00pm.