Found April 01, 2013 on Celtics Spot:
The Celtics head to Minneapolis for a match-up with the T'Wolves after being embarrassed in New York last night. The Knicks defeated Boston 108-89 all while hitting 14 of their 27 three point attempts. Luckily the Cs have a chance to bounce back quickly against a Minnesota team they've beaten 10 out of 10 times since acquiring KG.  On paper, the Celtics are clearly the better team in this contest. However, looking back on each team's past 10 games both have gone 4-6 and are on one game losing streaks.  Of course neither team is at full strength. The Timberwolves have been missing All-Star Kevin Love for almost the whole 2012-13 season and Brandon Roy seems like no more than a failed experiment to this point. In addition to those guys, Minnesota's tough and gritty center, Nikola Pekovic, is day-to-day with a sprained left ankle. As far as the Celtics go, obviously Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger are out and Kevin Garnett has missed all but two of the team's last nine games with a left ankle sprain/inflammation. KG will not play tonight and now it looks like Paul Pierce will join him on the sidelines. #CelticsTalk: Doc Rivers says Paul pierce will not play tonight vs #Timberwolves— A. Sherrod Blakely (@SherrodbCSN) April 1, 2013 Even though the Captain stated that he would be meeting with his head coach prior to the game, I figured he wouldn't take the floor tonight. With the playoffs literally right around the corner, risking Pierce's health any further just makes no sense. This game has very little impact on the Celtics' playoff hopes because as each game passes it looks more and more like they'll be taking the 7th seed, nothing more and nothing less.  With that said I'm predicting that tonight will, once again, be the Jeff Green show. Besides Pierce, Green was the only bright spot in last night's debacle as the wing-man scored 27 points on an efficient 10 of 14 shooting. Look for Green to pour in over 20 for the fifth straight game and, with Pierce out, expect him to grab anywhere from 8-10 boards. Should Green fail to put up such numbers, the Celts will have trouble knocking off this young Wolves team. It will also be interesting to see how Avery Bradley fairs going head to head with Ricky Rubio. Bradley has been struggling mightily as of late and nobody really knows why. While Rubio won't make anything easy on the young guard, tonight will be the first time Bradley sees Minnesota this season. AB was still recovering from his shoulder surgeries when the two teams last met on December 5th. Perhaps the game this evening will provide Bradley with the opportunity for a "fresh start" as the playoffs approach.  Bottom Line The Celtics will win this game but it will be a lot closer than you'd think. Boston will have to stop a hot Ricky Rubio who hasn't recorded less than 10 points and 7 assists in a game since March 18th. Rubio's also coming off of a stellar performance in which he poured in 23 points, collected 10 rebounds, and dropped 9 dimes at home against Memphis. What's more Minnesota has that guy Pekovic I mentioned earlier who had 14 and 9 on December 5th at Boston. Seems pretty run of the mill for an above average big man but without a legitimate post presence to go up against tonight, Pek might be in line to corral 20+ misses.  As painful as it is to say, tonight is by no means a guaranteed win but if Green can continue his offensive tear and guys like Crawford, Bass, and Terry step up in Pierce's absence then a victory should be in order. Win or lose, it doesn't really matter but of course we'd still like to see a win. At the same time it is important to remember that getting our main guys healthy is the number one priority right now. An unhealthy Pierce and KG would make for a certain first round bounce in the post season. Keeping that in mind, try to enjoy the play of the guys who do take the floor tonight. Here's hoping Jeff Green stays hot and oh yeah, Hey Doc, put Randolph in the game!!!! Injury Report Boston - Kevin Garnett (Ankle), Paul Pierce (Ankle), Jared Sullinger (Back), Rajon Rondo (Knee) Minnesota - Nikola Pekovic (Ankle), Malcolm Lee (Knee), Brandon Roy (Knee), Kevin Love (Hand) Follow @MacLean_Tim !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://www.celticsspot.com//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");
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