Boston Celtics at Minnesota Timberwolves
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Timberwolves have done well to recover from the Jimmy Butler saga and can move above .500 for the first time this season when they host the Boston Celtics on Saturday. A 128-89 rout of the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday gave the Timberwolves four straight wins and seven in nine games since they traded away Butler.
Robert Covington, one the players who came over from Philadelphia in that blockbuster deal, led the way with 21 points and nine rebounds as Minnesota improved to 9-3 at home while holding its opponent under 100 points for the third straight time. “It’s big time when you get a team like that and play an organization like that, and we come out and play defense the way we did,” center Karl-Anthony Towns told reporters after Wednesday’s win. “It’s a wonderful sight and it shows the hard work we’re putting in day-in and day-out.” The Celtics are also coming off a lopsided win after toppling Cleveland 128-95 on Friday. Kyrie Irving scored 29 points on 11-of-15 shooting as Boston shot a season-high 53.3 percent in its best offensive effort of the season.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBA TV, NBCS Boston, FS North (Minnesota)
ABOUT THE CELTICS (12-10): Boston has averaged 126 points in its two straight wins, which happens to coincide with Marcus Smart stepping into the starting lineup in place of the injured Jaylen Brown (back). Smart had 12 points and team highs of seven assists and three steals in the win over the Cavaliers and his play has left Brown wondering if he’ll be forced to return to a bench role. “Possibly,” Brown told reporters when asked about playing as a reserve when he comes back. “Especially if we are winning. Whatever it is that needs to be done to figure it out. Everybody has talent, everybody has ability, but obviously we have to make something work here. … If we’re winning, everything else will be fine.”
ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (11-11): Covington is averaging 22.5 points in two games since a 1-for-18 shooting effort against Chicago, but he is being lauded for his impact on the defensive end. “Overall just bringing that defensive mindset here is very contagious and a lot of people are picking up on it,” Covington told reporters. “That’s part of my character. I’m very approachable and I talk to guys in a way that I know how the game is going.” Towns and Derrick Rose added 16 points apiece in the win over the Spurs while rookie Josh Okogie chipped in 12 in only 10 minutes.
1. Brown told reporters he hopes to return for this one.
2. Rose hit 4-of-5 3-pointers Wednesday and is shooting 48.6 percent from beyond the arc.
3. The Celtics have won each of the last four meetings.