Originally written on Celtics Spot  |  Last updated 10/17/14
The Celtics drop the back end of a back-to-back and they'll return to Boston having lost both games of this small road trip. The loss tonight means that the Celtics are now 38-36 and it's pretty safe to say they won't be catching the Atlanta Hawks in this year's playoff race. Instead, they might start trending downward as the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Charlotte Bobcats this evening to pull within a game and a half of Boston.  The last time the 'Wolves got the better of the Celtics was on February 11th, 2007. Kevin Garnett was still with the team at that point in time and he proved to be too much for Boston to handle. Tonight was similar, except it was a different big man that did damage down low. Nikola Pekovic scored 29 points, 2 shy of his career high, on 9-15 from the floor and a perfect 11-11 from the charity stripe. Pekovic, who is known mostly for his rebounding, has become a decent offensive option for Minnesota and with the lack of bigs to throw at him defensively, Boston was in trouble from the get-go. Pek started off at a blistering pace by pouring in 15 quick points in the first quarter but I suppose you could say the C's "slowed him down" in the last three. I'll be honest though, I didn't expect the big guy to dominate on the offensive side of the floor but at the same time I wasn't surprised when he took over. Before the game I had originally thought that Pek would dominate on the glass, especially against a team that ranks 29th in team rebounds. But I guess I was wrong seeing as Minni's center only corralled 5 misses in a little over 41 minutes of play.  While Nikola Pekovic was Minnesota's team leader in points, he wasn't the only guy who put up big numbers. The oft-injured Andrei Kirilenko came up with a vintage AK47 stat-line by scoring 17 points, snatching 9 rebounds, and dishing out 5 helpers. Like his teammate, he too was extremely efficient from the floor connecting on 6 of his 7 shots. In addition, Dante Cunningham joined in on the fun and dropped 19 unforeseen points in just 23 minutes. And of course, Ricky Rubio was the catalyst constantly setting up his peers for easy scoring opportunities. The Spanish Phenom recorded 10 assists and probably could have had more if he didn't get into early foul trouble.  But enough about the Timberwolves, this is a Celtics site after all... There was nothing in particular that stood out in Boston's overall game in this one. Although the Cs were severely undermanned the trends stayed exactly the same. They didn't get to the line as often (more on that later) and they turned the ball over 9 more times than Minnesota did.  If you want to find something to be happy about, you'll have to turn to Avery Bradley's 19 points on 8-14 shooting. To be blunt, Bradley had been awful offensively the past few games and it was good to see shots falling for him. If you watched the game you could tell that he was being aggressive and looking for his own shot more often. It's easy to say that he only did so because Paul Pierce was missing from the line-up, hence the need for scoring via another Celtic, but Bradley's production was key in terms of boosting his confidence back up. Jeff Green wasn't the 20 point scorer we had seen the last 3-4 games but he was quietly productive. Green hit 50% of his shots en route to 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. Though it was refreshing to see Green flirt with yet another triple double, it was blatantly obvious he was gassed. Green logged 35 minutes in New York last night and he got 38 minutes of floor time tonight, including 30 straight minutes to begin the contest. Other than that, Terrence Williams and Jordan Crawford were the only other two who impressed me. They scored 14 and 11 points respectively and recorded 6 rebounds and 5 assists apiece. Together the young guards shot 11-21 from the floor and connected on 50% of their attempts from long distance.  Let me get something straight, the numbers each guy I mentioned was able to produce are pretty impressive but they also weren't good enough to get the job done. In my preview I stated that Jeff Green would have to score over 20 points tonight if Boston wanted a chance to win. That didn't happen. Plus, 7 of the 10 Celtics that played tonight were guilty of turning the ball over. Turnovers are a part of the game but they shouldn't be committed at that type of rate. Wow, Jeff Green almost had a triple double? Well he gave the ball away 5 times. Courtney Lee slipped up 3 times and countered it by recording a single assist, that math doesn't work for me. Besides Green and Lee, four other guys had 2 turnovers and another had one, that's inexcusable. And if 17 TO's don't seem all that bad to you then consider the fact that the 'Wolves had 23 fast break points to Boston's 9. Takeaways  "Home cooking" is real people. Since I can't get fined I'm not afraid to say the refs SUCKED tonight. You can't blame it all on the refs but when your opponent shoots almost two times the amount of free throws you took, something's fishy. David Jones, Courtney Kirkland, and Olandis Poole must be Timberwolves fans because they charged Boston with 21 personal fouls to Minnesota's 11. The Celtics were getting hit more than a red-headed step child (Yeah I said it) and whenever they did the officials swallowed their whistles. I was livid and when we finally got a call there was needed sarcasm. What was that sound? I heard a weird noise when Williams got hit going to the basket. Hmmm.... #CelticsTalk— Tim MacLean (@MacLean_Tim) April 2, 2013 Defensively, We're Lost. I think it was during the third quarter, Terrence Williams rotated to the wrong spot on the floor which left the lane wide open and Minnesota got an easy layup because of it. Frustrated, Doc called a timeout and was furious with Williams. Rivers actually pulled a few guys out on the floor and taught them the correct rotations right then and there. As a spectator, I saw the lane open right up and knew something went wrong but it sort of isn't Williams' fault. Joining a team so late in the season is problematic when it comes to offensive and defensive sets because in the NBA there aren't many practices being held during the season. With little experience the new guys are bound to make mistakes but at the same time it's very inconvenient. I won't blame Williams for this and I probably wouldn't blame one of the other new men either but Doc has to get a pad of paper or something and show them diagrams on the plane/bus rides. Do you think other playoff teams such as the Knicks, Pacers, Heat, and even Nets are going to care if our whole team doesn't have a full handle on the schemes? Absolutely not. It's a problem that needs to be addressed as quickly and efficiently as possible.  We Miss KG. To the Celtics Kevin Garnett is more than just a teammate. He's the motor, the heartbeat of this team and all emotion runs through him. If you watch Boston play both with and without the Big Ticket it's obvious that they go flat when he's not with them. But it's not just his leadership that they need, it's his scoring, rebounding ability and defensive presence. The future Hall of Famer leads the team in rebounds and he's virtually automatic on the offensive end. Garnett serves as the only guy who can score with his back to the basket and as we all know, having a post presence is key to winning games and titles. In KG's absence the Celtics haven't been able to play inside-out and that's why they're struggling offensively. Wrap-Up Boston only has 8 games remaining on their schedule. They have the day off tomorrow and on Wednesday they'll host the Detroit Pistons. Detroit just got Andre Drummond back from a tail bone injury and that will serve as a potential problem for the Cs. Between Drummond and Greg Monroe, Rivers' squad has a tough test ahead of them. On the bright side, they should match-up well at every other position. Whether or not Bradley can contain Jose Calderon and depending on how well the Celts slow down Detroit's bigs will ultimately determine the outcome of that game. 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