Smart, Irving help lead Celtics to 91-84 win over Timberwolves

Aubrey Yates
January 13, 2018

However, he is now a game-time decision Saturday as the Celtics visit the Brooklyn Nets on the second night of a back-to-back.

Marcus Smart scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half, Kyrie Irving had 16 points, nine rebounds and eight assists and the Boston Celtics pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 91-84 on Friday night.

The game was moving along at a fairly slow ebb when Tatum split the lane and dunked over Towns - a poster shot if ever there was one.

In his last five games he has averaged 28.4 points, and despite a slight dip in his field goal percentage in his last game, he looks set for another big one. He's playing at a good level.

This is their final game before heading to London to face Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers next week.

"Sometimes when we're struggling, I think the ball is going to find energy", Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.

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Brooklyn made it a two-point game and had multiple chances to tie the game up as they missed one contested shot after another around the basket. "You're going to have nights like that".

"They are a good team", said Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau. Against Brooklyn, they just didn't get many. Daniel Theis, trying to play defense, irritated Quincy Acy something fierce. "Then, of course, the way Al (Horford) passes the ball and Kyrie (Irving) keeps constant pressure on you and their wings, their versatility, their wings with both (Jayson) Tatum and (Jaylen) Brown it's tough". The numbers tell you that from win/loss to all their statistics. "Now, offensively, they're just making plays, for not only each other, but other guys on the floor".

Kyrie Irving was 3-for-9 when he drove from the top of the circle to give the Celtics a 66-62 lead with 1.6 seconds left in the third quarter. Aron Baynes provided a little traction with back-to-back hoops early in the fourth during a 11-3 run that helped the Celtics to a 77-68 lead.

Going 9-of-16 from the floor and a ideal 6-for-6 from the free throw line, Towns posted 25 points, pulled down a ridiculous 23 rebounds and also had two blocks on the defensive end in a dominant individual performance against the Boston Celtics. Rozier, who scored a team-high 20 points off the bench in Boston's win over Cleveland on Wednesday, has paired with Smart to really impact Boston's previously inconsistent second unit. Jimmy Butler scored 14, Jamal Crawford had 13 points and Andrew Wiggins scored 10 for Minnesota, which lost back-to-back games for the first time since November.

Neither side led by more than five in the half.

"We understand that there's some great players in this league who make some unbelievable plays", Irving said about the team's defensive work, "but we understand that if we stay disciplined we put ourselves in a great position".

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