Posted April 01, 2013 on
AP on Fox
Nikola Pekovic bruised and battered the overmatched Boston front line for 29 points to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 110-100 victory over the Celtics on Monday night.
Andrei Kirilenko had 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists, and Dante Cunningham scored 19 points off the bench for the Wolves, who delivered coach Rick Adelman his 998th career victory.
Avery Bradley scored 19 points for Boston, which was playing without Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. The Celtics, who started the day 2 1/2 games ahead of eight-seeded Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference playoff race, have lost seven of their last nine games.
This one snapped an 11-game winning streak against the Wolves, who beat Boston for the first time since Garnett was traded there in 2007.
Jeff Green had a quiet night with just 10 points and seven rebounds, while Jason Terry and Terrence Williams each scored 14 points for Boston, which was a step slow on the second night of a back-to-back.
Without Garnett there to throw elbows and spew intensity, the thin Celtics frontcourt was powerless to stand up to Pekovic in the paint. He bulled his way to the bucket for 15 points in the first quarter. And when he wasn't scoring, he was racking up the fouls on Chris Wilcox and Shavlik Randolph, the only two big men left on the roster. Wilcox didn't last five minutes before picking up his second foul and Randolph had three by early in the second quarter.
After missing the game against Memphis on Saturday with a sprained left ankle, Pekovic jumped right back into the middle of things and forced the Celtics to throw double-teams at him in the post. The Wolves outscored Boston 62-38 in the paint and Pekovic was a perfect 11 for 11 from the foul line. It was the kind of commanding performance against an overmatched opponent that could earn the big fella a lot of money this summer.
Pekovic will be a restricted free agent come July 1, and the Wolves want to retain him. But centers are hard to come by in this day and age, and he could have several suitors.
For once, the Timberwolves had the healthiest team on the floor.
One day after twisting his left ankle against the Knicks, Pierce did not make the trip because of personal reasons and Rajon Rondo has been out since the end of January with a torn ACL in his right knee. Garnett, the face of the Timberwolves franchise for 12 years, was not in town either while he dealt with inflammation in his left ankle, much to the chagrin of a Minnesota basketball community that still adores him.
Boston's annual visit to Target Center is still one of the most anticipated games of the year, with Minnesota fans pulling on their blue No. 21s and their green No. 5s to cheer for the biggest star the team has ever had. Without KG in the building, the crowd was rather subdued, and Celtics coach Doc Rivers openly hoped that it wouldn't be the last time Garnett had a chance to play in Minnesota.
''Every year we don't know if it's his last time,'' Rivers said before the game. ''Obviously I hope not and we all hope not, but you never know with Kevin. Every summer from this point on in his career he's going to decide if he's coming back or not. I would hope that this isn't (his last year) because I think you would want him to play in this last game here. So let's hope that this isn't.''
NOTES: The Celtics whistled for 21 fouls in the game, while the Timberwolves got just 11. ... The Timberwolves scored a season-high 23 fast-break points. ... Ricky Rubio had nine points and 10 assists for the Timberwolves.
BEST OF MAXIM
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...
MINNEAPOLIS Nikola Pekovic will play for the Timberwolves Monday night against Boston after missing Saturday's game against Memphis with a sprained left ankle. Coach Rick Adelman said he's hardly surprised by Pekovic's quick return and that the big man was pretty close to being able to play Saturday.
"He said the other night that he just couldn't loosen it...
Doc Rivers is an elite NBA head coach, but his mistakes are costing the Boston Celtics right now.Having won one NBA title back in 2008 and nearly two others during the last five years, there is now, no doubt that Boston Celticsrespected head coach Glen ‘Doc’ Rivers is as elite as any head coach in the game today.However, Rivers certainly isn’t perfect and to be honest about...
Pretty humorous AT&T commercial featuring former Celtics Larry Bird and Bill Russell, also former Lakers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Earvin "Magic" Johnson.
One teeny, tiny silver lining for Celtic fans as they watch their team limp to the finish line of the 2012-13 regular season: Boston is aiding its draft status without sacrificing its playoff seeding (at least for the moment while keeping eighth-seeded Milwaukee at arm’s length).
ESPN Boston: One upside to losing
As is the case whenever things look bleak, many are resorting...
Minnesota Timberwolves 110, Boston Celtics 100 The Celtics headed to Minnesota for a match against the Timberwolves following a blowout loss last night against the New York Knicks. Paul Pierce was not available for the team, as announced yesterday, the captain sat out for personal reasons. To start the game, Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee had a difficult time guarding Ricky Rubio...
After back-to-back wins over Cleveland and Atlanta, the Celtics will travel to Manhattan tonight for a matchup with the Knicks. They need this one. Lee might not play and KG probably won't, but that doesn't lower my expectations of them. I refuse to believe that they can go from scoring a 118 points in a win to being blown out just because they were on the road. It being...
Knicks 108, Celtics 89
For the second time this week, the Celtics (38-35) were unable to compete with a team that now owns the longest streak in the NBA. The Knicks (46-26) won their eighth straight on Sunday night as they steamrolled through a porous C’s defense. Boston played well enough on the offensive end, but Without Kevin Garnett in the lineup, they were simply unable to...
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...
8 a.m. ET: Things have not gone the Celtics’ way lately, either on the court or off.
The Celtics return to TD Garden on Wednesday hoping not only to get back in the win column but also to welcome back Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, who were out of commission on Monday. Pierce was back home to deal with a personal matter and the Celtics hope it is just a one-game absence. Garnett...
Melo and the Knicks punished Boston from 3-point range.Few things are as aggravating as hearing an opposing crowd chant “Bos-ton sucks,” but one thing that’s worse is knowing that they aren’t wrong. The Celtics, for lack of a better descriptor, sucked tonight. Aside from Jeff Green (and Chris Wilcox on two field goal attempts), no one shot above 50% from the field. The Celtics...
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...
Tip: 7:30PM Court: MSG Watch it: TNT Hear it: WEEI
Referees: Tom Washington, Mark Ayotte and John Goble
Spread: NYY -7.0
Boston Celtics Tickets
Are you watching or going to tonight’s Celtics game? RSVP here and be entered to win $200 in free tickets.
On road: 13-23
At home: 26-10
Streak: Won 2
Streak: Won 7...