Posted April 01, 2013 on
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With the Boston Celtics struggling and Kevin Garnett still sidelined, the team's opportunity to improve its playoff seeding is fading.
But on Monday night in Minnesota, they'll try to take advantage of a Timberwolves team they've won 11 straight against. Ten of those victories have come since Garnett was traded to Boston in the summer of 2007.
The Celtics (38-35) have lost six of eight overall and six of seven on the road following a 108-89 defeat against the Knicks on Sunday. They remain in seventh in the East, 2 1/2 games back of Atlanta and 2 1/2 in front of Milwaukee.
Sunday was their fifth straight game without Garnett, who has been sidelined with inflammation in his left ankle. Coach Doc Rivers said Friday that the team was intending to stick to its initial two-week timetable for Garnett's return, which would likely see him miss two more games this week against Detroit and Cleveland in addition to Monday's contest.
The absence of Garnett - Boston's leading rebounder with 7.8 per game - has had an effect on the boards, with the Celtics giving up an average rebounding margin of minus-4.8 over the last five. Garnett is also the club's second-leading scorer averaging 14.9 points.
Boston could also be without leading scorer Paul Pierce (18.7 ppg) on Monday after he turned his ankle during Sunday's loss.
"I feel like when we're healthy we can compete with anybody," said Jeff Green, who scored 27 against the Knicks and is averaging 20.2 points on 52.5 percent shooting over his last 10 contests. "We have a chance on it, whoever we match up against."
Despite being long removed from the playoff hunt, the Timberwolves (26-46) have been more competitive recently, splitting their last six games, including an impressive victory over Oklahoma City on Friday.
It seemed they were on track for another surprising win Saturday against Memphis, but they allowed a 16-2 run at the beginning of the fourth quarter on the way to a 99-86 defeat.
"I just think at one point we looked like we were trying to win the game in one possession," coach Rick Adelman said. "Trying to making hero plays and super plays. Just try to make solid plays."
Nikola Pekovic is listed as questionable after sitting out against the Grizzlies because of the sprained left ankle he suffered Friday, the latest in a litany of injuries for Minnesota this year.
The Timberwolves have seen a positive with Ricky Rubio continuing to look more like he did before tearing his ACL last March. He's averaging 13.8 points and 8.6 assists over his last 28 games, compared to 5.5 points and 5.4 assists in his first 19 games back from the injury.
Boston's offense has slowed to a crawl away from home, averaging 88.7 points over its last seven road games. The Celtics have also struggled to defend the 3-point line of late, allowing their last three opponents to go 29 of 64 from beyond the arc (45.3 percent), though the Timberwolves rank last in 3-point percentage (30.0).
The Celtics claimed a 104-94 home victory in the season's first meeting Dec. 5. Pierce and Garnett each scored 18 points as Boston shot 52.6 percent from the floor, though Rubio was still sidelined for Minnesota.
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AROUND THE WEB
It's getting close to panic time without KG.
Yesterday we heard from Doc Rivers that Kevin Garnett was "feeling a lot better" and that he was "fine." Most importantly, Doc said "If we were in the playoffs tonight, Kevin would absolutely be playing." Well, last night wasn't the playoffs, and the KG/Pierce-less Celtics dropped another game...
It looks like the Celtics' banner 18 chances have taken yet another big hit.
In a recent piece by hall of fame sportswriter Jackie MacMullan, she reveals what's been ailing Kevin Garnett.
Doc Rivers informed me last night that I should stop worrying about KG.
"Honestly, he's fine," Rivers said. "It's a bone something, a bone spur that just needs...
MINNEAPOLIS For the first time since Kevin Garnett put on a Celtics jersey in 2007, the Timberwolves beat Boston on Monday night, a 110-100 victory that capped off a grueling homestand against playoff-bound teams.
If that win, that snapped streak, isn't a landmark of the most pathologic type, then what is?
Unfortunately for the Timberwolves in terms of their quest for karmic...
he Celtics will not have Kevin Garnett tonight against the New York Knicks as they expected. The center is, however, closer to returning to the court after missing the past four games with ankle inflammation.
Garnett was expected to participate in the team's shootaround Sunday morning at Madison Square Garden, which is an encouraging sign considering the team wanted...
Garnett is out tonight but Doc Rivers said KG is feeling a lot better #celtics
— gary washburn (@GwashNBAGlobe) March 31, 2013
Kevin Garnett is in NY with #celtics. His shoes are at MSG ready for shootaround. It’s doubtful he plays but a good sign he’s recovering
— gary washburn (@GwashNBAGlobe) March 31, 2013
I’m not going to expand too much on this. I’m just going...
There are eight games left in the regular season for the Celtics, and the fourth seed is not officially out of reach. To put their plight in the rosiest terms possible, another flurry of strong play to close out the season’s final month could possibly put the Celtics back in the discussion for a top-four seed and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
For the first time since they gave us Kevin Garnett, the Minnesota Timberwolves have beaten the Celtics. They did it by feeding Nikola Pekovic early and often, and then feasting on the Celtics mistakes. Wolves take it 110-100.
The Celtics kept nipping and tucking and making it feel like they had a shot, but every time they got close, the Wolves would whip off another run to put...
On Monday the Celtics traveled to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves in their second of back to back games. The Celtics have struggled as of late playing without their veteran Kevin Garnett and have seemed to have lost their identity as a team. In addition to KG's absence the Celtics were without Paul Pierce tonight who stayed home in Boston for personal reasons. With a lack...
Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“We like how we match up with the Knicks,” captainPaul Pierce said. “We like how we match up with Miami. We like how we match up with pretty much anybody in the East.”
If the playoffs started today, the...
Wolves 110, Celtics 100
With only eight games remaining on their regular season schedule, the Celtics (38-36) are holding auditions in order to determine who will earn consistent playing time in the playoffs. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce sitting out a (peculiarly scheduled) road game in Minnesota on Monday night left the door wide open for some of the players on the fringe of the...
NEW YORK - After beating the Atlanta Hawks Friday, the Boston Celtics were feeling good about themselves; until they traveled to New York and faced the Knicks Sunday. New York won the game 108-89. For Boston, Kevin Garnett was out once again with a left ankle inflammation. Tyson Chandler and Marcus Camby did not play for New York. Chandler was out with a bulging disc, while Camby...
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...