THE NITTY GRITTY
Kevin Love paced three Timberwolves with 20-plus points, posting a team-high 23 points to go along with 12 rebounds while spearheading Minnesota's high-octane offense. Both Nikola Pekovic (20 points, 12 rebounds) and Kevin Martin (20 points) joined him in that club. The Celtics hung around for a half, then ran out of steam and watched Minnesota run away (even though both teams were playing a back-to-back). Avery Bradley scored a team-high 27 points on 12-of-23 shooting (one point shy of his career high) for Boston. Vitor Faverani, back in the starting lineup, added nine points and 14 rebounds.
Despite trailing by 17 midway through the second quarter, Boston closed out the first half strong (largely on the play of Faverani) and went into the intermission down five. The Celtics got a point closer early in the second half, but it was fleeting. Minnesota promptly embarked on an 11-0 run and Martin's layup had the hosts out front 70-55 with 7:01 to play in the third quarter. The lead never came back down to single digits.
Jeff Green didn't have a single field goal, finishing 0-for-6 shooting with a mere two points over 30 minutes. He was a minus-6 in this game. He did grab seven rebounds and block two shots, but he also turned the ball over four times and was an absolute nonfactor in the game. Credit Corey Brewer with solid defense, but Green did nothing to get himself going late in the game.
With Courtney Lee sideline by a sore wrist, MarShon Brooks got his first extended action of the season and turned in eight points on 3-of-7 shooting with three rebounds and an assist over 17:36. ... One night after scoring a career-high 26 points, Jared Sullinger came crashing back to Earth. The second-year forward finished with three points on 1-of-6 shooting over 13:42. He really struggled to defend around the basket and was minus-27 on the night. Sullinger had played a season-high 36 minutes on Friday night after missing the previous game due to a bone bruise on his right knee. ... Kris Humphries got another brief opportunity, scoring four points and grabbing three rebounds over 11 minutes. ... Keith Bogans was not with the team due to illness. ... Boston shot just 39.5 percent from the floor and 27.8 percent beyond the 3-point stripe.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (4-7) have now dropped three straight, continuing the streaky nature of the 2013-14 season (lost four, won four, lost three). Boston gets a rare two-day break as this road trip shifts to Texas, where the three-game trek closes with games against the Rockets (Tuesday) and Spurs (Wednesday). This trip doesn't get any easier from here and the Celtics must regroup with the rare minor break in this brutal November schedule.