The Minnesota Timberwolves put up a fight but ultimately fell short to the Boston Celtics on Friday night at Target Center.
On Friday night, the Wolves still went out and competed hard for 48 minutes and were within a possession of the mighty Boston Celtics in crunch time. Ultimately, the Celtics' star power of Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward was too much for the D'Angelo Russell-led Timberwolves.
Minnesota was in the game throughout, trailing by four after the first quarter and seven at halftime after a buzzer-beater by Malik Beasley just prior to the break. The Wolves were within six at the start of the fourth quarter before the Celtics pushed things back to double digits.
But the Wolves weren't done, cutting Boston's lead all the way down to two before a quick 5-0 run put the Celtics somewhat comfortably ahead for good.
The Celtics only got 10 points from their bench, but it didn't matter, Hayward had 15 points in the third quarter alone en route to 29 on just 15 shots on the night. Tatum had 28 points and 11 rebounds.
All game long, the Wolves struggled mightily on the defensive glass, and it hurt them badly down the stretch. Minnesota had just 35 defensive rebounds to the Celtics' 16 offensive boards, and Boston out-rebounded the home team by a 58 to 43 margin on the night.
The Celtics used a series of second-chance opportunities and strong defensive stands to put the Wolves away down the stretch, although Minnesota was competitive and played hard until the end, which is not what fans were used to seeing in the first half of the season.
Jordan McLaughlin had another strong game, putting up 11 points and making all three of his 3-point attempts. He also had three assists, two blocks, and a steal and zero turnovers in 14 minutes while logging a plus-minus of +4.
James Johnson had nine points and six rebounds but shot only 2-of-9 from the field. Allen Crabbe was scoreless in 11 minutes. Kelan Martin also missed all four of his shot attempts but pitched in three rebounds and three assists.
Jarrett Culver shot only 1-of-5 and had two points and three rebounds in 22 minutes.
The Wolves are off on Saturday and will head out on a four-game road trip beginning in Denver on Monday night as Beasley and Hernangomez head back to to Pepsi Center for their first time as visitors.