Rapid Reaction: Celtics 104, Wolves 94
THE NITTY GRITTY
Kevin Garnett remains undefeated against his former squad, registering a double-double with a team-high 18 points and 10 rebounds to pace the well-rested Celtics. Paul Pierce added 18 points as all five Boston starters scored in double figures, including Jason Terry and Rajon Rondo (17 points apiece). Kevin Love finished with a game-high 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Nikola Pekoic chipped in 14 points and nine rebounds for the Timberwolves.
The Celtics were down two when Garnett went to the bench with 7:08 to play in the third quarter. Typically, that's when the Celtics' production takes a nosedive, but Boston outscored the Wolves 20-11 to carry a seven-point cushion (79-72) into the final frame. The Celtics were 9-of-13 shooting during that Garnett-less stretch, spearheaded by three buckets from Rondo and two apiece from Brandon Bass, Terry and Chris Wilcox (the trio was a combined 6-of-6 for 16 points over those final seven minutes). A Garnett-fueled 11-1 run to start the fourth quarter pushed Boston's lead up to 15.
A NEW STREAK BEGINS
After Rondo's 37-game double-digit assist streak was snapped when he was ejected from last Wednesday's joust with Kris Humphries and the Nets, he picked up right where he left off by handing out 11 helpers against the Timberwolves. The scorekeeper initially took away No. 10 midway through the third quarter, but Rondo later fed Wilcox for a layup with 1:52 to go in the frame to officially reach double digits in helpers.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics, rested coming off a three-day break, clearly had more in the tank than the Timberwolves, who were playing the second night of a back-to-back. Even still, the Celtics shot 52.6 percent and went into triple figures despite missing eight free throws (the Timberwolves didn't aid their own cause by going 14-of-30 at the charity stripe). Boston can take it as a quality win and now they get a day off to trek to Philadelphia for the start of a consecutive-day home-and-home with the 76ers on Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
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