Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 1/18

Game 1: Wednesday, January 18th
Game 2: Monday, January 30th

Timberwolves 96

(18-18, 6-12 away)

Celtics 103

(15-23, 11-8 home)

    Coverage: KSTC

    7:30 PM ET, January 18, 2006

    TD Garden, Boston, MA

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIN 32 23 18 2396
    BOS 22 24 23 34103

    Top Performers

    Min: K. Garnett 29 Pts, 13 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Blk

    Bos: P. Pierce 25 Pts, 8 Reb, 3 Ast

    KG scores 29, but held to 2 points in fourth

    BOSTON (AP) -- Kevin Garnett was dominant through three quarters for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Paul Pierce took over for the Boston Celtics when it mattered.

    Pierce, who scored just five points on 1-of-8 shooting in the first half, scored 14 of his 25 in the fourth quarter to lead the Celtics to a 103-96 win over the Timberwolves on Wednesday night.

    Pierce scored 11 consecutive points for the Celtics to spark a 13-2 run spanning the third and fourth quarters and help the Celtics turn a seven-point deficit into a four-point lead. Boston outscored Minnesota 34-23 in the fourth quarter.

    "They played well when they had to," Garnett said. "Paul Pierce is the best in the business when it comes to hitting fourth-quarter shots."

    The Celtics trailed by as many as 14 early in the second quarter and 55-46 at halftime but chipped away at the lead.

    Delonte West scored Boston's first eight points of the second half to keep the game close. Then Pierce took over.

    Pierce gave the Celtics their first lead since early in the first quarter when he completed a three-point play 51 seconds into the fourth. He drove to the right side of the hoop, made a tough layup in traffic while being fouled by Trenton Hassell. The ensuing free throw made it 74-73.

    The next time down the floor, Pierce nailed a 3-pointer to extend the Celtics' lead to 77-73.

    "With the lineup we had out there, I was looking to just be aggressive," said Pierce, who also had eight rebounds in the win. "I had some drives to the lane, a couple 3s, tried to get it inside. Just tried to make sure we ran our stuff and got the shots we wanted."

    Minnesota built its lead back up to 82-79, but Al Jefferson scored six of his eight fourth-quarter points during a 12-2 run late in the period to ice it for the Celtics, who snapped a two-game losing streak and won for just the second time in seven games.

    Garnett had 29 points and 13 rebounds but managed just two points while going 0-for-5 in the fourth while being double-teamed by Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins.

    Jefferson finished with 18 points and eight rebounds and Perkins added 17 points and six rebounds for the Celtics, who matched a franchise record by committing just five turnovers.

    Wally Szczerbiak scored 22 points and Hassell had a season-high 18 for the Timberwolves, whose three-game winning streak came to a halt.

    Garnett scored 13 first-quarter points and helped Minnesota end the quarter on a 14-2 run. He scored seven during that stretch, including a 35-footer at the buzzer that put the Timberwolves up 32-22.

    The Timberwolves led by as many as 14 early in the second quarter but the Celtics chipped away at the lead, pulling to within seven on three occasions.

    "We had an opportunity to extend the lead but didn't come up with making the play," Minnesota coach Dwane Casey said. "We had open shots, guys were wide open but you've got to be able to make those."

    Al Jefferson tipped in a rebound with 52.1 seconds remaining in the half to make it 53-46, but Hassell made a 5-foot fadeaway at the buzzer to extend Minnesota's lead to nine.

    West had 14 points, five rebounds and three assists for the Celtics, who outscored the Timberwolves 57-41 in the second half.

    Game notes

    Garnett was named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played Jan. 9-15. He averaged 24.3 points, 14.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists for the week...Garnett became just the sixth player in NBA history to record 16,000 points, 9,000 rebounds and 3,500 assists for his career. Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Charles Barkley, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Karl Malone are the others...Hassell eclipsed his previous season high of 14 points by halftime.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 96 103
    FGM-FGA 37-82 (.451) 40-82 (.488)
    3PM-3PA 5-15 (.333) 7-16 (.438)
    FTM-FTA 17-23 (.739) 16-27 (.593)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 16-45 15-43
    Assists 20 17
    Turnovers 8 5
    Steals 4 2
    Blocks 6 5
    Fast Break Points 2 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (0/0) 22 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 14 8

    Top Performers

    Kevin Garnett Garnett
    Points: 29
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Paul Pierce Pierce
    Points: 25
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0