The Celtics snapped a three-game losing streak on Friday night with a 121-109 victory over the Timberwolves for their first win since returning to TD Garden.
Boston struggled to find rhythm from across the arc, finishing 13/46 (28.3%), but that didn’t stop them from focusing on effort and defense.
The Celtics held the Timberwolves to under 30 points each quarter. This included limiting guests to he 21 in the final frame. These stops allowed Boston to play uptempo and score points consistently at the rim.
Produced by Celtics 58 Points for the paint on Friday’s win. Jaylen Brown, who scored his 36 points, a game-high, Jason, who scored 30, his Tatum, and Derrick, who helped calm Boston down with an aggressive approach before the hosts pulled away in the fourth quarter. White took most of the damage here.
Explore what stood out as the Celtics returned to winning streak.
Celtics first frame performance defined by healthy process and disappointing results
The way the Celtics started Friday’s game is something this author had a lot of stock in with the big picture in mind.
Boston needed how to play in the second half of Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers when the hosts, led by Jayson Tatum, repeatedly challenged the Indiana defense. It was the paint of Tatum provided 14 of them.
The Celtics know what their opponents value and above all know they have to be aggressive, play with pace and take care of the ball.
When they do, they are consistently producing quality shots. If they don’t, they tend to lose confidence and become less defensive.
Boston’s process was sound in the first frame on Friday. The Celtics often played uptempo and had excellent activity both on-ball and off-ball, reaching the rim and in the paint he scored 14 points. Nevertheless, they only had 22 points to show for it.
But with no threes falling, Boston went 1/9 across the arc, shooting a terrible 36% from the field.
While Jaylen Brown and Tatum scored five and four points respectively, Derrick White remained aggressive, producing three layups and scoring a team-high eight points.
But in addition to no shots falling, the Celtics committed five turnovers, giving the Timberwolves eight points.
Minnesota also got a great first quarter from D’Angelo Russell. The Visitors Floor General saw him lead all scorers on 3/4 shooting with 13 points and at the free throw line he posted 6/6. Russell also had four assists and he recorded three rebounds as the Timberwolves took a 29-22 lead going into the second frame.
More transfer opportunities help Celtics find rhythm in 2nd quarter
After holding Guest to 29 points in the first quarter, the Celtics stepped up defense in the second. Remaining active and consistently contesting shots, Minnesota had less than his 43% shot completion percentage from the field, including his 3/10s from across the arc.
These stops, including four Timberwolves turnovers, gave Boston nine fast-break points.
These opportunities helped the hosts find their rhythm, shooting 47.8% from the field and knocking down 5/12 3s (41.7%).
Al Horford scored all eight points in the second frame. Tatum put in his six and entered halftime with his team-high ten. He was the only Boston player to record double digits at the break.
The Celtics also helped the cause by taking better care of the ball, committing just three presents. As a result, the visitor scored no haste points.
Minnesota scored 10 points from Anthony Edwards, who came in with 12 at halftime, and scored 7 on second-chance chances.
However, after Russell recorded 13 points in the first quarter, Boston limited him to five in the second quarter. However, he padded his 3 from the top of the break with 2.1 seconds remaining, giving the Timberwolves a 56–54 advantage at halftime.
Celtics’ defense allows them to live on the edge of the third frame
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The start of the third frame was similar to the first. The Celtics made quality shots, but they weren’t falling. It took until a 7:22 White Floater for Boston to reach double digits in that period.
Brown in particular struggled, missing the first four shots. The impact was clear when he fumbled against Edwards after making two free throws, allowing Edwards to step into an open three he took advantage of.
Fortunately for the hosts, after White and the Celtics defense kept them afloat, Tatum repeatedly attacked the basket and began to penetrate.
Tatum scored 15 points in the period and led Boston’s 11-2 run to lead from five downs to 85-81 with 2:04 remaining.
And while the hosts were 2/12 (16.7%) across the arc, his shot chart was largely on balanced offense featuring 20 points in the paint made possible by his defensive efforts. I am proving responsible.
The Celtics outscored the Timberwolves 14-7 to close the frame. That included a pair of right-corner 3s by Horford who were great on both ends of the court.
His second make from across the arc saw Tatum drive from the left, kick the ball out to Malcolm Brogdon on the opposite wing, and immediately wave the ball to Horford for 3 to beat the buzzer. It was play. This gave Boston an 88-86 advantage in his final 12 minutes.
Celtics best defending in the final frame
Brown took Boston’s first shot of the period and missed, but after Russell’s turnover, he responded by filling in the 3 on the hosts’ next possession. It felt like he needed it after a rough third quarter.
On the next floor down, Brown reached the basket with a change of pace drive and produced two points at the rim to give the Celtics a 93–90 lead with 10:26 on the clock.
Those two possessions were the start of a ten-scoring streak for the home team.brown offer twenty three They finished the night with a game-high 36 of Boston’s 33 points in the final frame.
The Celtics had their best defense in the 4th quarter, with the Timberwolves scoring just 21 points. Maintaining his one of the theme of this game, consistent stops translate into points at the rim.
Boston failed to score 20 points in the paint in the 3rd frame, but the Celtics scored 14 points in the 4th quarter to finish with 58 points.
These stops and repeatedly attacking the rim away from them also played a major role in the hosts taking 26 free throws and converting them to 20.
And the Celtics turned 20 offensive rebounds into 20 second-chance points on a night when Joe Mazura told the team, “The best thing we thought we did was just play tough.” I changed.
The way Boston won this game was overcoming poor shooting from across the arc, going 13/46 (28.3%), staying defensively locked and consistently competing shots. It’s now 10/32 (31.3%).That’s how the Celtics need to face the Bucks to win Christmas.
It is also important for championship aspirations.
The Celtics will host Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks in a Christmas showdown on Sunday. The game will tip off at 5:00 PM EST. Inside The Celtics includes content related to games before, during and after games. Also, follow @BobbyKrivitsky on Twitter for updates and analysis from pre-game to post.
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