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Game 72/82: Celtics (50-21) @ Timberwolves (17-56) Open Thread

Boston at Minnesota
7:00 P.M.
Target Center
CSNNE

Offensive Efficiency:

Boston: 104.4 points/100 possessions (15th)
Minnesota: 101.2 points/100 possessions (24th)

Defensive Efficiency:

Boston: 97.4 points allowed/100 possessions (2nd)
Minnesota: 107.6 points allowed/100 possessions (26th)

Probable Minnesota starters: Lucas Robin Ridnour (PG), Wesley JaMarr Johnson (SG), Michael Beasley (SF), Kevin Wesley Love (PF), Nikola Pekovic (C)

View From The Opposing Bench: A Wolf Among Wolves

Can this even be called a trap game, at this point? Don’t traps generally have some kind of disguise element, like some leaves raked over them or something so you can’t see them? Because this game, and all games for the rest of the season, has to be considered a potential loss. After dropping two to the already-mediocre Grizzlies without their best player and the already-terrible Bobcats without their two best players, there simply is not a game this team can’t lose.

Why they’re losing, and how you should feel about it, is something we’re going to address a lot this coming week (especially if things get weird tonight). But for now, let’s take a look at how the Celtics can win, should they decide they want to.

WHAT THE TIMBERWOLVES DO WELL

Rebound. This is why the Timberwolves are not necessarily a slump-buster for the Celtics. If Kevin Love plays, they’re the fourth-best rebounding team in the league (compared to the Celtics at 20th), and the best on the offensive end. Nenad Krstic, meanwhile, is beginning to validate the concerns some of us had about the Celtics not playing with an actual center right now. He had eight boards against Charlotte, but only two against Memphis. The bench has been even worse in this category: Jeff Green and Big Baby are the only bench players with rebounds in the last two games, and they’re both averaging four.

WHAT THE TIMBERWOLVES DO POORLY

This team is basically Kevin Love, in that it rebounds very well but can’t play defense. The Wolves opposition converts almost 70% of their shots at the rim. There was a time when the Celtics got to the rim obsessively, understanding that, because they didn’t prioritize offensive rebounding, they had to make sure the one shot they could take was of a high percentage. They simply do not play that way anymore, but it would be nice to see a return to form tonight.

PLAYERS THAT MAKE ME WORRY

Kevin Love. This preview refuses not to be about Kevin Love for a second. You remember this, but he outrebounded the entire Boston team in January, and that was when they had both Shaq AND Jermaine O’Neal on the floor. If he plays tonight, and he might, the things he’ll do on the boards will be pretty gross. Never stop appreciating this guy, though. He’s completely dominated an entire statistical aspect of NBA basketball, a MAJOR aspect at that, and he’s younger than Kyle Singler, a guy he used to pose with in magazine shoots a lot when they were both Oregon high school basketball players.

Anthony Randolph has also been playing like Theoretical Anthony Randolph the past couple games. 55 points total.

PLAYERS WHO DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY

Love is also almost an entire year younger than Wesley Johnson. Remember when Johnson was considered “NBA-ready?” He’s now probably the 9th or 10th best player on his terrible team.

2009: The Timberwolves draft a vastly overrated guard out of Syracuse with a top-6 pick, with the next pick going to one of the top three players in the draft.

2010: See 2009.

WHAT WE WANT TO SEE TONIGHT

Jeff Green and Glen Davis to put their magical rings together and grow three inches.

PREDICTION

C’s 92, Wolves 89

  • Batman

    I wanna see good Rondo

  • LJP

    Taking “a look at how the Celtics can win, should they decide they want to” is a useless metaphor since all teams want to win. They all play the game to win. But it might be useful to take a look at Doc Rivers statement after the loss to the Bobcats: This is what happens when our ”butts got tight.” Did Doc Rivers take a page from Eric Spoelstra’s book on “What to Reveal About a Team to the Press After Another Embarrassing Loss”. Rivers statement certainly wasn’t made of the stuff of “this starting 5 never lost a playoff series” or “I love these guys.” Or just maybe Doc is trying out material for a new book he’s planning to write on “Motivating Highly Paid Primadonnas — Again.”

  • Rav

    I want to see either:

    1) A complete blowout win

    2) A close one where we execute at the end of the game (like that game against the Knicks)

    3) Coming back from down 20 at the half after a rousing speech from Doc, following which all the team starts going crazy and destroying the Wolves

    4) A complete shutdown, where none of the starters play any minutes (and key bench players play limited ones) so people can rest lingering injuries or avoid new ones

    Also, re: Rondo's struggles. Has anyone noticed that he's not pulled out his signature ball-fake since Perk was traded?

    • Morpheus

      He actually pulled it out against the Knicks, but he ended up passing it…like he always does.lol

  • talesofJP

    Should win, Love will make it a bit difficult if he plays

  • Sam

    This is kind of irrelevant but Love actually didn't outrebound the whole celtic team; he had 24 and we had 30.

  • the other Alex

    Geez, C's slaughtering the wolves. Rondo can take some time to heal and go see a shrink to fix him so he can be back to him actual self.

  • Zee

    Krstic is gonna have to learn to finish strong at the rim! Too many missed opportunities already due to fake pumps! Chances are you’ll get the foul anyway, so go up strong!

  • Zee

    Did you see how Green finished? That’s how Nenad needs to do.

    • the other Alex

      certainly does not have to learn it from Baby

  • I_Love_Green

    25 point lead, now down to 14. Come on guys!

  • I_Love_Green

    What the hell!!

  • Zee

    Well, at least we see Rondo isn't the problem. We had a 25 point lead and lost it. No excuse for that.

  • Batman

    Noooooo

  • kricky

    this is pathetic. what the hell happened to this team ?

  • CsFanInArkansas

    BBD has the most shots so far in the game for the Cs……a blistering 4 of 13.
    On what team is it okay for that guy to lead in shot attempts?!

    You've got to be kidding me…

  • the other Alex

    what really concerns me is the way the Wolves and the freaking Bobcats dominate the damn boards

  • Batman

    Somebody needs to give the damn ball to KG

  • the other Alex

    am I crazy or was it the Bobcats game where KG got blocked that way? What the hell is happening – some weird time and space shit?

  • Batman

    A gutty win….?

    • kricky

      More like ineptitude on the part of the wolves. Maybe they gave this game to us in deference to all that KG has done for the franchise.

      • Batman

        don't insult SuperCoolBeas

        • kricky

          Wouldn't dream of it. Best corn rows since A.I. got booted from the league.

  • the other Alex

    Paul and KG saved us tonight, could easily have gone the other way