Thursday, March 16, 2023

Celtics 104, Timberwolves 102: Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum combine for 57 to hold off Minnesota

The Celtic held on to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 104-102 Wednesday night at the Target Center, despite another tough shooting performance.

Jaylen Brown continued his offensive tear as of late, finishing 12-of-24 from the field -- including 5-of-8 from deep -- to notch 35 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Jayson Tatum, however, struggled going 4-of-16 from the floor and 0-of-8 from 3-point range to score 22 points -- but did grab 12 rebounds.
"I thought our physicality, that competitive nature was at a 10 and we just have to continue to execute the margins in clutch situations," Boston coach Joe Mazzulla said. "We won most of them tonight."
Malcolm Brogdon added 12 points, six rebounds off the bench and Al Horford chipped in 11 points, five assists for the C's, who improved to 48-22 (2.5 games behind Milwaukee for first in the East) and one game ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers for the second best record in the conference.

All-Star Anthony Edwards led Minnesota with 28 points (5-of-8 from 3), 10 rebounds and seven assists. Kyle Anderson had 15 points, seven assists and eight assists, while Rudy Gobert and Naz Reid each scored 15 points respectively for the Timberwolves -- who fell to 35-35 on the season.

The Celtics led 44-43 at the break and outscore the T-Wolves 33-28 in the third to take a 77-71 advantage into the final frame.

After trailing by as many as 14, Minnesota rallied to get within two (101-99) with 32.2 seconds left to play -- before Edwards missed a 3-pointer that would have given them their first lead since the opening quarter.

Grant Williams, who has played sporadically as of late in Mazzulla's rotation, grabbed an offensive rebound off a missed Marcus Smart 3-point attempt and won a jump ball against Gobert with 1.1 on the game clock.

Tatum put the game out of reach by going 3-of-4 from the free throw line -- due to Kyle Anderson and Anthony Edwards picking up two technical fouls each for arguing with the officials, that led to both getting ejected.
"For us to be able to win games with adversity, it's going to be key for us," Smart said in his postgame comments. "We're going to get everybody's best shot. For us, it's just to keep playing. Teams are going to go on runs and we've just got to do a good job of taking the blow and then delivering our own."
The Celtics at 2-1 so far on their six-game road trip, as they'll head to Portland to face the Trail Blazers (31-38) Friday night for the second time in less than 10 days.

Game Notes:

Boston was 40.5% from the field including 30% (12-of-40) from 3-point territory, while the Timberwolves were 44% from the floor and 33.3% (12-of-36) from long-range. The Celtics were out-rebounded 46-44 and outscored in the paint 46-40. Minnesota finished with 27 assists (13 turnovers) on 37 baskets and the C's handed out 20 dimes (10 turnovers) on 34 made shots.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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