Originally written on Celtics Green ...a boston celtics blog.  |  Last updated 4/1/13
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 of depth in the frontcourt the Celtics have really been burned down low on the glass and offensively against larger players. Tonight this showed true again as the Celtics fell to the Timberwolves 110-100 led by their Center Nikola Pekovic. The last time the Celtics lost to the T-Wolves was was February 11, 2007 when former Celtic Ricky Davis hit a buzzer beating shot to win the game. Tonight this Celtics squad was almost comparable to that line-up as Doc Rivers has had to mix and match the Celtics starters in various ways. Tonight without any of the Celtics "New Big Three" the team opened with Bradley, Lee, Green, Bass, and Wilcox. This was the first time these five players started together and it showed early on as the Celtics gave up 57 points in the first half. MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 1: Nikola Pekovic #14 of the Minnesota Timberwolves shoots against Chris Wilcox #44 of the Boston Celtics on April 1, 2013 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Of the starters Jeff Green played the most minutes with 38 and had a solid over all game. Offensively Jeff wasn't his recent self scoring just 10 points on 5-10 shooting. This was troubling to see as Green needs to command the ball in these sort of situations. As of late he has inspired the team and provided some hope for the Celtics future when the Pierce KG era ends. However, on a night when both veteran leaders weren't playing Jeff seemed to disappear on the offensive end. He did manage to contribute in other aspects grabbing 7 rebounds and dishing 5 assists but end of the day we need Jeff to be a focal point or first option offensively. Avery Bradley finally bounced out of his recent offensive slump shooting a team high 14 shots good for 19 points. This was the first time he reached double-digit scoring since March 16th against the lowly Bobcats. Avery was certainly aggressive right from the start scoring the Celtics first points on a mid-range jumper. He also did a good job on the Timberwolves international star, Ricky Rubio who scored just 9 points on 2-11 shooting. The Celtics really struggled to protect the paint tonight with their lack of frontcourt depth. The team let up 62 points down low and tallied 21 fouls leading to 27 attempts at the free throw line. Add 17 turnovers to that and you had one ugly game by the Celtics offensively and defensively.  Greg Smith-USA TODAY Sports The Timberwolves were led by Nikola Pekovic who ended with a game high 29 points. Pekovic has played great for the Wolves this year especially being without their star Kevin Love. He really asserted his dominance down low and in pick and roll situations with Ricky Rubio who had 10 assists. The Celtics simply didn't have any answer for the 6'11, 290 lb center as Wilcox and Randolph racked up 9 fouls combined sending Pekovic to line to shoot 11-11. I don't think anyone expected too much from this depleted squad but at the same time this was only the T-Wolves 26th win of the season. We were able to see some extended minutes from our bench players and I was pleased to see their offensive output. In particular Terrence Williams showed he can be an asset to the team now and going forward. T-Will shot an effective 6-10 on the night for 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. He did a great job showing his aggressiveness offensively and created some mismatches with his size when he came in at the point guard spot. Randolph as well played decent offensively shooting 4-5 for 8 points but again struggled defensively matched up against Pekovic. The Celtics will make the trip back home and have a day break tomorrow before playing again Wednesday in the TD Garden. The team will take on the Detroit Pistons at 7:30pm in a must win game. The Pistons have been facing some frontcourt injury issues of their own with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond sidelined recently. Look for Paul Pierce to hopefully return to the line-up in this game as the Celtics look to avoid their 3rd loss in a row and more importantly avoid the surging Bucks fighting for the 7th seed in the playoffs. [Discuss on CG Forums!]
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