Minnesota Timberwolves (5-19) at Boston Celtics (9-14) Game Preview: A Battle in Beantown


It appears that this match-up has gotten a heck of a lot more (or a lot less?) interesting overnight. One day ahead of their game with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Boston Celtics FINALLY agreed on a trade partner for enigmatic point guard Rajon Rondo, according to multiple reports.

Anyways, we had a sense that these two squads would be nowhere near the playoff race coming into this season and they look to be proving those notions correct. I, for one, did not foresee the Wolves falling out of it this far by Christmas, but that’s what you get when you combine a stacked Western Conference with a multitude of crippling injuries.

The host Celtics come in with a 9-14 record and have some momentum, registering two straight wins. The Wolves, well they’ve lost 17 out of 20 since starting 2-2 and when Ricky Rubio went down.


Minnesota Timberwolves (5-19)

PG – Zach LaVine (12 GS, .391 FG%, .822 FT%, 2.6 REB, 3.5 AST, 0.7 STL, 0.2 BLK, 9.1 PTS this season)

SG – Corey Brewer (16 GS, .418 FG%, .705 FT%, 3.9 REB, 3.3 AST, 2.3 STL, 0.2 BLK, 10.5 PTS this season)

SF – Andrew Wiggins (24 GS, .394 FG%, .703 FT%, 3.8 REB, 1.4 AST, 1.0 STL, 0.4 BLK, 12.6 PTS this season)

PF – Thaddeus Young (19 GS, .457 FG%, .576 FT%, 4.6 REB, 1.9 AST, 1.6 STL, 0.5 BLK, 14.5 PTS this season)

C- Gorgui Dieng (16 GS, .510 FG%, .766 FT%, 8.1 REB, 2.0 AST. 1.0 STL, 1.4 BLK, 8.7 PTS this season)

Key Reserves

Shabazz Muhammad (SG) – Shabazz continues to be the hottest Timberwolves player after another 20 point-effort in Tuesday’s loss against the Washington Wizards. Who would have envisioned reading that sentence a couple of months ago?

The guard has scored in double figures in seven straight games and is continuing to make a case for insertion into the starting lineup. Is the former UCLA Bruins’ play a sign of things to come or is it merely a product of increased playing time due to injuries?

Mo Williams (PG) – In that very same game against the Wizards, Williams returned from a six-game absence to contribute six points and two assists in 14 minutes of action. If he stays healthy, it’ll be interesting to see how Flip Saunders decides to handle the backcourt situation. You’ve got two veterans (Williams and Brewer) battling for starts with two young guns (LaVine and Muhammad.)

Anthony Bennett (PF) – As pointed out by DWW’s Ben Beecken, Bennett has been better in Minnesota so far than he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he has still shown great inconsistency. The 21-year-old had a great stretch of games in mid-to-late November, but has not shown up this month (aside from a double-double against the Spurs.) The Celtics no longer have Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins guarding the interior post, so we’ll see if Bennett can take advantage of that tonight.

Boston Celtics (9-14)

PG – Avery Bradley (22 GS, .432 FG%, .800 FT%, 2.3 REB, 1.0 AST. 0.7 STL, 0.2 BLK, 12.7 PTS this season)

SG –  Evan Turner (2 GS, .478 FG%, .935 FT%, 4.0 REB, 3.3 AST, 0.8 STL, 0.3 BLK, 9.0 PTS this season)

SF – Jeff Green (23 GS, .454 FG%, .832 FT%, 4.4 REB, 1.5 AST, 1.0 STL, 0.5 BLK, 19.6 PTS this season)

PF – Jared Sullinger (23 GS, .448 FG%, .646 FT%, 8.2 REB, 2.4 AST, 0.6 STL, 0.7 BLK, 13.8 PTS this season)

C – Tyler Zeller (10 GS, .636 FT%, .830 FT%, 5.1 REB, 1.2 AST, 0.3 STL, 0.7 BLK, 8.4 PTS this season)

Key Reserves

Kelly Olynyk (C) – Zeller has started the last two games at center for Boston, but Olynyk has had a solid start to his sophomore campaign. The 7-footer is averaging 11.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game while playing in all 23 games thus far, including 13 starts. The Canadian has also seen a sharp increase in his three-point field goal percentage, upping that figure to .417 so far.

Brandon Bass (PF) – With Rondo on the way out, Bass amazingly becomes one of, if not the longest tenured C’s on the roster. The undersized big man was traded from the Magic during the 2011-2012 season after two seasons apiece in New Orleans/Oklahoma City, Dallas, and Orlando.

Phil Pressey (PG) – With the aforementioned Rondo vacating the starting point guard position and with rookie Marcus Smart battling some injuries, we could see Pressey’s first start of the season in this one. In his second pro season, Pressey has averaged 2.9 points per game while shooting an ice-cold 31 percent from the floor and 16 percent from downtown.


– Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, and Kevin Martin are still out with no clear return date.

Ronny Turiaf is now out for the season after undergoing hip surgery on Tuesday.

3 things to look out for

1. TD Garden atmosphere – The former “Big Three” has been officially gone in Boston since the 2013-2014 season. Now with Rondo gone, this is officially Jeff Green’s team to lead. We’ll see how the Boston fans adjust to yet another franchise altering trade.

2. Wiggins’ defense against Green – Green is far too inconsistent to be mentioned amongst the best small forwards in the league. There are nights though that he can seem to play that way. If tonight is one of those occasions, Wiggins could have a tough test ahead of him.

3. Bradley vs. Brewer? – We may not get the fortune of seeing this matchup, but boy would it be entertaining to see these two ball thieves go at it. These two seem to love the full-court pressure and have extremely active hands on defense that can be an opponent’s nightmare to deal with.


The Celtics without Rondo just became a lot more beatable. With their new acquisitions almost impossibly being ready for tonight’s tilt, one would think that the Wolves have a shot.

I see a very quiet, un-Boston like crowd witnessing an ugly game of basketball but ultimately seeing their hometown team take home a 10-point win.