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Celtics (L) vs Timberwolves (W): 97 - 99 Tough Home Loss

Image hosted by Tony Allen was dressed for tonights game, but Doc mentioned in the "house call" pre-game show that TA looked OK this morning at practice, but not in the pre-game walk through. As it turned out, TA was a DNP-CD for the game.

Timberwolves and NBA superstar Kevin Garnett (KG) matched the Celtics first two scores, going over and around an overmatched Raef LaFrentz. Gary Payton (GP) stole the ball and fed 'Toine for a layup to put the Celtics ahead 8-6 at the 8:17 mark. However, as alot of the game went, Minny came right back at the Celtics with Hassell and Hudson. At the 6:35 mark, Doc took a timeout with the Wolves leading 12-8.

Ricky Davis (RD) kept the C's close with a mid range jumper from up top. 14-12 Wolves, with 5:47 remaining. RD then got to the line on a nice drive to the hole that got him "hoop and harm". The ball sat up on the neck of the rim before finally spinning in. RD missed the FT though and the score was tied 18-18 with 3:25 left.

The C's and Wolves just kept slugging back and forth with each other, running the score to 25-24 with 1:31 remaining. Latrell Spreewell scored, but it was countered by a GP drive. The quarter ended with the score tied 27 ALL.

Paul Pierce(PP) started the 2nd quarter by posting up Wally Szcerbiak. Mark "Mad Dog" Madsen gave the Wolves the lead at 32-29 with 9:52 remaining. Minny then pushed further out front with some good outside shooting by Hoiberg and WallyWorld that saw them leading 38-29 with 8:00 left to go.

Blount **suddenly** looked awake as he pushed his way to a tough basket, deep in the paint. However, Wallyworld answered his score with a jumper (he's got 16 already, this is not good). 40-31 Wolves with 6:42 left. **(This was during a streak of play that saw no whistle. During it, Kendrick Perkins had been sent to the scorers table. Shortly after Blount made this shot, Perk was brought back to the bench, never to report. A message perhaps? I may be spitballing on that one, but I think it worked as Blount seemed to play with urgency and purpose)

Fred "The Mayor" Hoiberg continued to be a shooting menace as he hit a 3pter to put Minny up by double digits: 43-33, 5:47 remaining. Wallyworld hit another jumper to increase the lead to 45-33. Blount tipped in an offensive rebound to close the gap back to 10 with 5:06 left. The C's took a timeout with 4:34 remaining and Minny leading 47-35.

Out of the timeout, PP pump-faked a pull up to draw defenders and then dumped the ball into a waiting GP underneath for an easy score. 'Toine scored in the paint at 3:41 and C's now trailed 47-39. RD scored on another shot that spent time on the rim. This one rolled around the rim before falling in. However, it looked like Blount's hand might have played a role in it's early drop into the net. Blount then scored on and offensive rebound collected off a Raef 17ft baseline jumper attempt. The C's have closed the Wolves lead to 48-43 and 2:18 remaining.

**Mark Blount looks really good right now: Who'd of thought it? I don't know if it had anything to do with Doc almost putting Perk in for him, but something got him playing hard and I don't care what it is, as long as it's for the better of the team.**

PP got a Tommy Point for taking a charge on a Wallyworld drive at 2:08. (Pierce's offensive game really never came around tonight, but he kept hustling and rebounding, so no major complaints) Raef hit a turning fade-away in the post to get the C's to within 3, at 48-45 with 1:36 left in the half. PP then took what was probably an ill-advised 3pter trying to tie it. Wallyworld hit 2 FT's to make it 50-45 with 1:08 remaining. Blount collected an offensive rb and kicked it out top to a waiting GP with a 3pter. 50-48 with :44 left. The C's continued to hold and do a decent job trying to defend and managed to get a break off a rebound. Delonte West got the ball up to PP, who again drew defenders to him and fed the open man down low. This time RD was the recipient.

At the Half: 50-50

'Toine started the second half with a nice effort that helped get the C's out to an early lead at 62-56 with 7:30 on the clock. The C's capitalized on a nice bit of passing that saw the ball go in, back out, then around half the horn, until PP had clear path to feed a wide open Raef underneath. 64-60, with 6:07 left. GP then fed Raef on a play that saw Raef go across the middle by was of a motion screen. He got the hoop and harm and converted the attempt. 67-61 with 5:33 left. GP asked for and got isolation against Troy Hudson down near the block for a score at 4:51 that saw the C's leading 69-61.

I mentioned the C's defense earlier. They were trying, if not always succeeding. At 4:37, they forced the Wolves into a shot clock violation turnover. **Random note: Hassell has been particularly annoying this quarter, putting up 8pts thus far in it** DWest subbed in for GP at the 3:51 mark with the score 69-63 Celtics.

RD blew by Wallyworld off the right wing to make it 71-65 with 3:08 left on the clock. KG then hit a jumper, helped steal the ensueing in-bounds play, and then pass and go to the basket for an alley-oop and was fouled. Timeout Boston. 71-69, with 2:43 remaining. After the timeout, KG then came back to the line to finish the traditional 3pt play. The Wolves were now on a 9-2 run and have closed the C's lead to 71-70. KG then scored on the C's again, when no one picked him up on a run. Minny retakes the lead 72-71.

The C's forced another shot clock violation with :50.8 left. PP then scored in the post to make it 73-72. The C's got one more shot opportunity, but Blount couldn't finish in an inside feed. End of 3: 73-72.

The C's started off with some nice passing that was the ball move out to the mid-wing area, where Blount fed it to a cutting DWest in the paint for a layup. Wally countered with 2 FT's and at 11:18, the C's led 75-74. Blount then reasserted himself, muscling his way down on the post, then moving towards the middle for a tough score. 77-74, 10:33 on the clock.

DWest scored on a nice drive and Justin Reed fumbled a break opportunity, but collected the ball and got it to Blount on the baseline for a short jumper. 81-76, 9:15 remaining. After a timeout, the C's ran a play that saw more good passing around the horn. This time, it found Reed in the corner area for a long 2pt jumper. 83-76, 8:27 left. However, Minny scrapped right back and closed the Celtic lead to 85-83 with 7:08, forcing Doc to call a timeout.

Wally and RD exchanged jumper scoring, but the Mayor hit a 3pter at 5:47 that put the Wolves back in the lead. Wally scored on a cut and feed into the post. PP took Wally to the hole to score and John Thomas and KG played "Big Man Catch", collaborating on some quick low post passing for a score. Wally then scored on a drive that forced a helping PP to foul. All sins tolled: 4:04 remaining, 94-89 Wolves.

Pierce stuck a 17fter over Wally. He then stepped into the passing lanes for a steal and break that led to RD scoring and being fouled. After RD converted: 95-94 with 3:48 remaining in the game. ** The Fleet(or whatever the hell they've named it today) is going nuts right now. It's loud and they're standing and cheering on the defense. They erupt when** Raef comes up with a huge block by challenging Thomas' dunk attempt from deep inside the paint. RD hit a pull up 10fter on the other end and the C's retook the lead 96-95 with 2:39 left.

KG scored from about 7ft inside the paint to beat the clock and Minny regained the lead 97-96 with 1:53 left. AW got to the line on a nice pumpfake that saw KG paratroop. 'Toine hit the backend of the trip and tied it at 97 ALL with 1:35 left. **Random Stat: The C's are winning point in the paint 62-40** The Jungle continued to stay loud as Minny failed to score and RD pulled down a crutial rb.

Payton missed his long, but open jumper and Hassell returned the favor on the other end for Minny. The C's called timeout with the ball, :37 on the clock and :14 on the shot clock. The score is tied 97 ALL.

It's unclear whether Hassell stripped the ball or PP just lost it as he looked to pass it off, but the ball was turned over on the isolation scoring attempt. Minny called a timeout with :24.7 left. GP got a hand on the original in-bounds pass and sent it back out of bounds. However, the Wolves got the ball up court and eventually into the hands of Spree, who was out near the sideline, outside the arc. RD reacted to the ball movement, but couldn't get over there fast enough to keep Spree from blowing by him. PP shifted across to try to stop him, but Spree pulled up just short of PP and hit a 5-6 ft jumper to seal the Wolves win with :00.9 remaining on the clock. Even with that sneeze of a clock left, RD actually got a good shot off from atop the arc, but it didn't go. Celtics Lose....

Final Score: 99-97 Minnesota

Player of the Game: Show Down

Ricky Davis: 22pts,

Gary Payton: 17pts, 3rbs, 6assts.

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