at Minnesota Timberwolves (17-20) at Boston Celtics (21-15)
Wednesday, January 2, 2019
8:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #37, Home Game #17
TV: ESPN, NBCSB, FSNTH
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, WCCO-AM 830
TD GardenProbable Starters
PG: Terry Rozier
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Marcus Morris
C: Al Horford
Jabari Bird (personal) out
Aron Baynes (hand) out
Robert Williams (groin) out
Kyrie Irving (eye) out
Two Way Players
PJ DozierHead Coach
Brad StevensProbable Starters
PG: Tyus Jones
SG: Andrew Wiggins
SF: Josh Okogie
PF: Taj Gibson
C: Karl-Anthony Towns Timberwolves Reserves
Derrick Rose (ankle) doubtful
Jeff Teague (ankle) questionable
Robert Covington (ankle) out
Two Way Players
Tom ThibodeauGame Notes
The Celtics return home after a 1-2 Western road trip to face another Western Conference team, the Minnesota Timberwolves. This is the second and final meeting between these two teams. The Celtics won the first game 118-109 on December 1 in Milwaukee. Hayward had 30 points in that game.
The Celtics have won 12 straight games over the Wolves in Boston and the last 5 games between them overall. Both teams are coming off a loss in their last game. The wolves are 4-6 in their last 10 games while the Celtics are 5-5 in their last 10. The Celtics are 6-8 vs Western teams while the Wolves are 9-5 vs the East.
The Celtics are still in 5th place in the East. They are 5 games behind first place Bucks and 1.5 games behind the 4th place 76ers. The Timberwolves are 13th in the West and 7.5 games out of first place. The Celtics are 11-5 at home while the Wolves are 5-14 on the road.
Kyrie Irving is out with 2 scratched corneas that he suffered against the Spurs in the last game. I expect Terry Rozier to get the start in his place. Robert Williams will remain out with a groin injury and Aron Baynes will be out until approximately MLK Day after surgery on his hand.
For the Timberwolves, Derrick Rose has missed the last 2 games with an ankle injury. He is doubtful for this game. Jeff Teague has missed the last 8 games with an ankle injury and is questionable. Robert Covington has been upgraded to out for this game. Josh Okogie is a good candidate to take his place in the starting lineup. Key Matchups
Al Horford vs Karl Anthony Towns
This is another game where the Celtics will really miss having Aron Baynes against the very versatile Towns. He is averaging 21.7 points, 12.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists. Horford will have his hands full trying to slow down the Wolves 7' center who is versatile enough to have beaten Isaiah Thomas in the Skills Challenge.
Marcus Smart vs Andrew Wiggins
Wiggins is averaging 16.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.2 assists. Smart will need to keep him in check as he is capable of having a big game if not guarded well. Honorable Mention
Daniel Theis vs Dario Saric
Saric has burned the Celtics several times when he was with the 76ers. He is now coming off the bench and averaging 10.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists. He is shooting 46.4% from the field and 36.5% from beyond the arc. Keys to the Game:Defense Defense Defense!!
Defense is the key to winning every game. The Timberwolves average 111.5 points per game, which is just one tenth of a point less than the Celtics. The Celtics have slipped somewhat on defense and need to get back to making defense a priority. The Celtics have slipped to 4th in the league with a defensive rating of 104.7. The Celtics have got to play tough team defense if they want to get back to winning on a consistent basis. Take Care of the Ball
- The Wolves are 11th in the league with 17.6 points per game off turnovers. They are also 5th in the league with 14.9 second chance points. The Celtics need to take care of the ball and focus on making good passes because if they get sloppy, the Wolves will certainly make them pay. Rebound
- The Celtics are averaging 45.4 rebounds per game to 44.3 rebounds per game for the Wolves. Rebounding is effort and it seems that sometimes the Celtics just don't work hard enough. The Celtics need to put in extra effort to crash the boards and beat the Wolves to the rebounds and limit their second chance points. Be Aggressive
- One of the strengths of the Celtics has been their aggressiveness on the court. They need to be aggressive in going after rebounds, on defense, in attacking the basket and in going after loose balls. The more aggressive team will also usually get more calls from the officials. The Celtics must be the more aggressive team and be the team that plays harder. Play Hard 48 Minutes
- The Celtics at times will start off slow and then have to dig themselves out of an early hole, or else they start strong and get a big lead and then let the opponent back into the game and have to fight right up until the end. They need to get off to a strong start and play hard right up until the final buzzer. They can't let the Wolves outwork them for any period of time. X-Factors
Home Sweet Home
- The Celtics are back to the Garden after a 3 game Western road trip. They are 11-5 at home and have won 12 straight against the Timberwolves in their own building. The Celtics should get a boost from the home crowd and defend their home court. Road Weary Wolves
- The Wolves are playing in the 3rd and final game of a 3 game road trip. Often teams let down at the end of a road trip as they look forward to getting back home. Hopefully the Wolves let down and the Celtics are energized by their own fans.