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Big Al and the Wolves Visit the Garden

Minnesota Timberwolves (16-29) at Boston Celtics (39-9)
Sunday, February 1
12:00 PM ET
Game #49, Home Game #26
TV: CSN HD, FSN North, NBA LP 751
TD Banknorth Garden

Game Thread l Chat

Wolves Blogs TWolves Blog l Canis Hoopus
Update: KG has the flu and is not playing today. He is "iffy" for Tuesday as well apparently. Baby got the start in his place.

The Timberwolves have been one of the hottest teams in the month of January going 10-4. They have made a turn around since former Celtic Kevin McHale took the reins. They are coming into this game off a home loss to the Lakers and would love to get back on track against the Celtics.

Last season, the Celtics swept the series with the Wolves for the first time since the 1995-96 season. But, it wasn't easy as they won both games by a total of just 3 points. The Celtics are 1-0 against the Wolves this season after a 95-78 win in Minnesota in November.

The Wolves started off slowly in spite of an upgrade in talent over the summer but after the coaching change, Kevin McHale has this team believing they can win and playing well. The Celtics should win this one easily, but they are sure to meet a very motivated Wolves team and so will need to match their intensity.

Coach: Doc Rivers
Average Age: 26.6
Average Height: 6-6
Average Weight: 222

Probable Starters

PG: Rajon Rondo PPG 11.2 RPG 5.00 APG 8.0 EFF + 18.34
SG: Ray Allen PPG 18.0 RPG 3.40 APG 2.8 EFF + 17.06
SF: Paul Pierce PPG 18.8 RPG 5.70 APG 3.8 EFF + 18.55
PF: Kevin Garnett PPG 16.2 RPG 9.00 APG 2.7 EFF + 21.80
C: Kendrick Perkins PPG 8.3 RPG 7.90 APG 1.1 EFF + 13.7
Brian Scalabrine (Concussion) day to day

Coach: Kevin McHale
Average Age: 26.6
Average Height: 6-7
Average Weight: 227

Probable Starters

PG: Sebastian Telfair PPG 7.7 RPG 1.80 APG 4.3 EFF + 7.41
SG: Randy Foye PPG 15.7 RPG 3.30 APG 4.8 EFF + 14.93
SF: Ryan Gomes PPG 11.1 RPG 4.40 APG 1.6 EFF + 10.89
PF: Craig Smith PPG 9.2 RPG 3.60 APG 1.3 EFF + 9.64
C: Al Jefferson PPG 22.7 RPG 10.50 APG 1.5 EFF + 24.09
Corey Brewer (ACL) out
Kevin Ollie (elbow) day to day
Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Sebastian Telfair
This is a matchup of 2 very quick point guards. Telfair has been playing well for the Wolves and I am sure he would love to send a message to the Celtics that they should have kept him. Telfair isn't known for his defense however and Rondo should be able to get past him if he is aggressive.

Kendrick Perkins vs Al Jefferson
Perk and Al were best friends when Al was in Boston and they have remained close. They have had many a battle during practices and if anyone knows each other's games it is these two. This should be a good battle for bragging rights between these two.

Honorable Mention
Paul Pierce vs Ryan Gomes
These two have gone up against each other in practice when they were teammates and so know each other well. Pierce has been playing great ball lately and Ryan has improved since his days in Boston. Should be a good matchup.

Team Connections
Of all the teams in the NBA, these two teams are probably the most connected after the big trades between them.
Kevin McHale, the Wolves coach and former GM, was one of the original Big 3 of the Celtics.
KG played for the Wolves from 1995-2007 and was traded to the Celtics in the trade that took Big Al Jefferson, among others, to Minnesota.
Randy Foye, Al Jefferson, and Ryan Gomes were drafted by the Celtics.
Sebastian Telfair played for the Celtics in '06-07.
Wolves assistant coaches Jerry Sichting and Ed Pinkney are former Celtics.
Mike Miller played for Doc in Orlando.
Jason Collins was a teammate of Scal's in New Jersey
Ray Allen and Calvin Booth were teammates in Seattle
Ray Allen was drafted by the Wolves in the 1996 draft
X Factor
Former Celtics and Wolf
KG, Big Al, Sebastian Telfair, and Ryan Gomes will all be fired up to beat their former teams. It will be an emotional game for all involved as their teammates will want to win the game for them. Let's not forget former Celtic Kevin McHale who would also love to beat his former team and get bragging rights with Danny Ainge.

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