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Celtics (W) vs TWolves (L): 103 - 100 .500 And Sweet Respectability

Yes Celtic Nation, even on SuperBowl Sunday, we're here for you! (Speaking of which, I'm late for a SuperBowl party. Enjoy)

Oh BTW: we're now officially a respectable 1st place team. Our record is at least .500 now.

The Celtics went into Minnesota with something of a feeling of comfort considering it was a road game. The Celtics have won the last 4 in a row when visiting Minnesota. Tonight would continue that streak, but let's not get ahead of the story...

The TWolves came out with a strong message for the C's that it was going to b e a fight. They went 5/5 FG's to open the tilt and got out to a 10-2 lead by the 9:00 mark. Gary Payton (GP) finally broke the streak in a loud way at 8:02 to make it 8-5. During a timeout called at the end of the play by Minny, Mike Gorman was heard blurting out "I can't believe Minny doesn't have a bigger lead than 5, considering the way the Celtics are playing".

Random information Break: During the timeout, the cameras panned on Timberwolves Executive and Former Celtic Kevin McHale and his wife Lynn, sitting in the stands. Tommy Heinsohn continued his tradition of honoring his wife on away games by saying "I'm sure the Redhead in Needham sends her love to Kevin and Lynn."

Spreewell scored coming out of the timeout to make it 12-5 at 6:56. Tony Allen (TA) took it strong to the basket in transition at 5:39 and the C's trailed 12-7. Kevin Garnett (The Kid or KG) scored on a lob over-the-top and lay-in against Raef, 14-7 5:17 left. Blount, who had another solid game, hit a 15fter at 33:47 and then another jumper at 2:58 to close the C's to within a basket at 16-14. Paul Pierce (PP) ties it and provided the go ahead FT at 2:39 when he scored off a feed on a cut to the rim. 17-16 Celtics. Raef hit a 3pter at 2:16 to make it 20-18 but the TWolves tied it at 20 apiece. Blount continued to play well, collecting an offensive RB and put back score with :32 left to put the C's ahead to end the quarter.

End of 1: 22-20 Celtics

The action in the 2nd started with Kendrick Perkins getting an absolutely monster block on a cutting Wally Szerbiak (WallyWorld) but the refs saw some body contact and Wallyworld hit 2 FT's at 11:35 to tie it at 22 apiece. Waltah hit a jumper to put the C's ahead 24-22 at 11:27 and that started a back and forth scoring fray between the 2 teams that went until a timeout at 7:20 had the TWolves now leading 32-28.

The Celtics started to rally as PP and GP started to take advantage of individual matchups against the likes of Sam I Am and Wallyworld. PP hit a 3pter at 6:52 and then followed it up with a score at 6:20 that saw him on the recieving end of a lob over top Wally, down in the low post. GP then hit a 3pter to even it at 38 ALL with 5:00 left. He then did his pg thang, lobbing an over-the-top pass to Raef, who did a good job of closing off his man for an easy layin at 2:55 to put the Celtics back in the lead 44-42.

Wolves Coach Flip Saunders got a Technical Foul at 2:22 with the score still 44-42. Random Information Break: Former Minnesota Governor Jesse "the Body" Ventura was in attendance at todays game. It appears that the former gov continues to enjoy his time not having to be cleancut and shaven everyday. It appears he's currently and solidly entrenched in a Ted Nugent look-a-like phase.

PP went to the bench with 1:46 left in the half with 2 fouls. GP got a rare fastbreak point for the C's today when he went end to end at :48 to keep the C's ahead 48-45. The Celtics essentially got the last good possession, but on overlapping cuts, the Celtics went to Raef and not RD for the last shot. Raef wasn't able to connect, but it held to the theme of Doc having the C's take advantage of a favorable matchup.

At the Half: 48-45 Celtics

The C's jumped out 50-47 and GP went on a personal run of his own, taking Sam I Am to task. At 7:08, he had scored 6 of the last 8 Celtic points, as the Celtics now led 60-54. Random Stat: Raef LaFrentz collected his 11th RB at the 5:54 mark and was doing a great job on the boards.

A PP step-back jumper over Wallyworld made it 64-58 with 5:23 remaining in the 3rd. The C's played decent defense overall in this game, but sometimes it just didn't matter. KG scored on a tip in, while surrounded by green jerseys. He just managed to out elevate the pack and get his hands to direct the tip back in. With 3:19 left, the Celtics took a timeout, leading 66-64.

The C's came out of the timeout and went to the PP vs Wally matchup for a score again at 3:01. They then dumped another low post pass into him and he scored, plus got to the line for a traditional 3pt play at 2:38. The C's now led 71-66 and PP had scored the last 9 Celtic points. The Wolves went inside to Olowakandi (Kandi) to close it 73-71 at 1:38 and Blount picked up his 3rd foul in the process. Kendrick Perkins (Perk) checks in.

Development Spotlight: At 1:21 - Perkins got an offensive rebound, passed the ball out to GP so the offense could reset. GP drove to the hole and Perk ended up on the recieving end of a sweet dump off dish and was fouled trying to finish a 2 handed dunk.

75-71 with 1:21 remaining in the 3rd.

Hoiberg (The Mayor) hit a 3pter that got Minny the lead at 76-75 but a nice drive to the hole by Banks with :04 left put the C's back in the lead to end the quarter.

End of 3: 77-76.

The C's got out quick in the final stanza, RD had one of the scoring plays on a jumper at 10:57 to make it 81-76. Perkins hit 2FT's at 10:24 to increase the Celtic lead to 83-77. Banks then was able to get a drive to the hole after getting loose off of Perkins screen. Banks was fouled and completed the traditional 3pt play. Development Spotlight: It looked like a pg rewarding his big man for his hard work, when Banks turned around and fed Perkins coming off a nice cut. The dunk made it 88-81 with 8:38 left. Timeout Minny.

The Mayor came out of the timeout and hit a 3pter to close the Celtic lead down to 88-84. Jiri then played a nice bit of defense, stealing the ball and going the length of the floor for a score at 7:15. Celtics now lead 90-84. Perkins then refused to back down from the reigning MVP and got a little nippy with KG. Nothing major came of it and Doc sat the rookie down for a spell.

On the play after PP was called for travelling, the Wolves went right to Wally for a score at 6:24 to make it an uncomfortably close 90-88. RD responded with with 2 consecutive jumpers, exploiting a matchup with a slower Hoiberg. At 5:01 the Celtics led 94-90. GP and Wally then started yapping at each other and had to be seperated as the referees called matching technical fouls on them. In a reversal of usual roles, RD had a steal and missed layup, which GP cleaned up for a score to make it 97-94 with 3:08 remaining.

Coming out of a timeout that sent Raef to the bench with 5 fouls, PP hit a 10ft turn-around shot over Hassell at 2:01, but Hassell responded with a deep jumper at 1:35 to keep the Wolves close at 99-96. At 1:01 and :08 left on the shot clock the C's came out of a timeout that saw them execute a flawless play. Flawless except for the fact that the cutting PP got a feed on the inbounds pass deep in the paint and saw him miss the layup. Paul was visably disappointed and was slow to get back up the court for the next to plays. Even on a n ight when he played quite well otherwise, this is an example of times when he needs to shake it off, keep his head up and keep playing hard. Thankfully it didn't hurt the team.

KG scored with :10 left, but earned it, as the C's played pretty good defense. 101-100 and the Wolves fouled PP on the ensuing inbounds pass. PP hit both FT's, ending a 15/16 night at the line and setting the final score at 103-100. Cassell got a shot off, but it was partially blocked (or, what I saw, which was that there was a foul that wasn't called) by GP.

Final Score: 103-100 Celtics Win.

Player of the Game: Gary Payton

PP's game was nice, but half of his total points were from the line. Raef's 7pts and 15rbs were awesome. Both deserved consideration. However, GP's 22pts more impressive than both to me and his 7 dishes topped it off. He pretty much schooled his matchup(s) tonight.

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