BOSTON -- Rapid reaction after the Boston Celtics defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 101-97 on Monday night at TD Garden:
THE NITTY GRITTY
Jared Sullinger scored a team-high 24 points on 7-of-14 shooting to go along with 11 rebounds and 5 assists over 35 minutes, while Avery Bradley added 19 points on 9-of-17 shooting in 32 minutes as the Celtics edged the Timberwolves at the finish line. Kevin Love scored a game-high 27 points, but on 9-of-26 shooting with 14 rebounds. Three of Minnesota's five players in double figures came off the bench with Dante Cunningham (12), (Northeastern's own!) Jose Juan Barea (10) and Alexey Shved (10).
In a game that featured 10 lead changes and seven ties (and with neither side ever leading by double digits), Minnesota and Boston found themselves tied at 92 with less than three minutes to play. Sullinger drilled a straightaway 3-pointer with 2:22 to play and Boston's defense nearly made it stand up. Nikola Pekovic made a layup with 1:06 to play as the Timberwolves got within a point, but Sullinger and Jordan Crawford provided the free throws that helped Boston hang on.
CLEANING THE GLASS
Minnesota won the battle on the glass but only by a 51-50 margin. The Timberwolves did generate 19 offensive rebounds leading to 23 second-chance points, but Boston parlayed 14 offensive rebounds into 27 second-chance points.
The Celtics went 11 deep early in the game with foul trouble forcing Brad Stevens to lean on all five of his bigs. MarShon Brooks and Keith Bogans were healthy DNPs. ... Brandon Bass spent nearly the entire game in foul trouble, picking up his fifth personal just 2 ½ into the third quarter. ... Kris Humphries played 21 minutes in his place and was a team-best plus-14 while chipping in eight points and seven rebounds. ... Boston shot 44.2 percent from the field; the Timberwolves were at 37.8 percent. ... The Timberwolves committed just seven turnovers (leading to six points); Boston had 13 turnovers for 15 points.
WHAT IT MEANS
Boston (12-14) has won two straight and eight of its last 12. The Celtics have two more games on this five-game homestand with visits from the Detroit Pistons (Wednesday) and Washington Wizards (Saturday) ahead. Boston travels to Indiana on Sunday, but then will enjoy a five-day holiday break after playing 29 games over the first 53 days of the season.