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Boston – The Boston Celtics defense kept Minnesota Timberwolves without a field goal late in the fourth quarter, win 91-84, for Celtics’ fifth straight win. A Taj Gibson tip-in at the 5:05 was the Timberwolves last field goal until a Karl-Anthony Towns dunk with 38.5 seconds left. Despite Towns scoring 25 points and hauling in 23 rebounds, the Celtics outrebounded Minnesota 56-43. Once again the Celtics’ bench was key, outscoring Minnesota’s bench 42-20, lead by Terry Rozier (14 points) and Marcus Smart (18 points). It was Rozier’s sixth straight game scoring 10+ points.
Kyrie Irving, after nearly recording his second career triple-double is no longer focused on zoning in for one game, now that team is more than halfway through the season: “Now, it’s really about the big picture.”
Terry Rozier has been on hot start during the Celtics’ win-streak and gives credit to the team’s energy from start to finish: “It’s coming from a little bit of everybody. It’s tough. We got a lot of games. We play a lot of games. You’ve got to find a way to get your energy going, and some games the first unit will start off well, and sometimes our second group picks us up. We just got to find ways to come out with a lot of energy through these games ‘cause it’s tough.”
Marcus Smart, Boston’s lead man off the bench, has had moments where he’s been dinged up due to injury, but still plays and bring the defensive intensity to the team, which is harped daily: “It’s a great feeling for this coaching staff, that’s really good. ‘Cause they spend a lot of time on offense, but also on the defensive end trying to make sure we’re in places to succeed. So if the shots not falling, the coaching on the defensive end is big.”
Coach Stevens was impressed with the way AL Horford continued to play despite having knee pain: “Al – something happened in the first half, where – and you could tell; he was kind of feeling for it on a couple of different possessions, so I took him out. He went back to the locker room. Got it checked out. Did a bunch of exercises at halftime. They didn’t have a diagnosis; they just said it was sore. And so they put that sleeve on there. I’m not sure what it was, but I’m sure he’ll be re-evaluated right now. But he felt good enough to play in the second half, and was moving well, I thought.”
Jimmy Butler, who knows Celtics forward Jaylen Brown personally, spoke highly of the young forward: “The swag that he has, man. He’s so confident when he’s out there on the floor now. He’s out there being super aggressive on both ends of the floor. And I saw that in him early on.”