Minnesota Timberwolves at Boston
When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
BOSTON – The Minnesota Timberwolves are struggling to perform consistently at the defensive end, leading to losses in eight of the last 12 games. The Timberwolves will try to find a way to get key stops and close out on 3-point shooters when they finish out a three-game road trip by visiting the Boston Celtics.
Minnesota knocked off Miami 113-104 in the opener of the road trip on Sunday but could not muster up the same defensive effort while allowing the New Orleans Pelicans to knock down 14-of-25 from 3-point range in a 123-114 loss the next night. “Until we play defense for 48 minutes, it’s going to be hard to win,” Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters. “…It’s discipline. Everyone’s got to do their job, but it wasn’t just the bench. We can’t pick and choose when we’re going to do things.” Minnesota failed to take advantage of a New Orleans team missing superstar Anthony Davis but may get another chance with a star absent as Celtics All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving is questionable. Irving had to leave Monday’s 120-111 loss at San Antonio in the fourth quarter after suffering a scratched left cornea and is day-to-day.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN, FS North (Minnesota), NBCS Boston
ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (17-20): Minnesota is dealing with an injury situation in the backcourt that has point guards Jeff Teague (ankle) and Derrick Rose (ankle) day-to-day, opening an opportunity for Tyus Jones. The 22-year-old made the most of a start on Monday and collected 15 points and 13 assists but was unhappy about the team’s performance down the stretch. “These close games, we’ve got to find a way to pull through,” Jones told reporters. “We’ve got to find a way to come out on the other end. We’re fighting, and we’ve just got to find a way to come out on the right side of things and we’ve got to learn from it.”
ABOUT THE CELTICS (21-15): Boston dropped five of its last eight games following an eight-game winning streak but will get a chance to turn things around with the next four at home – three against teams with losing records. The Celtics are undersized with center Aron Baynes (hand) out and struggled on the glass during their three-game road trip. “We have to play twice as hard because we’re smaller,” Irving told reporters. “So, they’re just pounding it in, going at our bigs, making Marcus Morris guard (power forwards) and Al (Horford) guard these (centers). They’re just launching at the basket and getting offensive boards, so most of our lineups are featured with four guards, so that makes our job on the boards a lot tougher. And it just showed. It’s been showing over the last few games.”
1. Celtics C Robert Williams III (groin) sat out the last four games and is questionable for Wednesday.
2. Timberwolves C Karl-Anthony Towns is averaging 28.3 points and 18.5 rebounds over the last four games.
3. Boston took the last five in the series, including a 118-109 triumph at Minnesota on Dec. 1.