Chants of "We want KG!" echoed throughout the TD Garden Monday night as the Celtics met the Minnesota Timberwolves for the first time this season. And while fans may have been disappointed to see one of the franchise's former heroes glued to the bench all evening, they certainly should have been pleased with the home team's 113-99 victory.
Kelly Olynyk and David Lee were fantastic in the win, combining for 32 points and 13 rebounds in the absence of both Amir Johnson (foot) and Jared Sullinger (back). Despite their impressive play, though, it was truly the whole team that contributed to the end result.
Jae Crowder had 18 points and 10 rebounds; Avery Bradley chipped in 13 points of his own; Isaiah Thomas stuffed the stat sheet with 8 points, 7 rebounds, 12 assists and 4 steals; Tyler Zeller dropped 14 points and 8 rebounds off the bench; Jonas Jerebko snapped out of his funk with 12 points and 7 rebounds; Evan Turner dropped 10 dimes; and RJ Hunter poured in 7 points while adding 3—yes, 3—blocks.
This all against an up-and-coming Timberwolves team that employs young studs down low and on the wing in Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, respectively. Towns did everything he could to keep his team in the game, scoring 25 points, grabbing 15 rebounds and sending away 2 of the Celtics' shot attempts.
It wasn't enough, though. The more experienced Celtics were firing on all cylinders from start to finish in a next-man-up fashion that would make even Bill Belichick proud.
As the Celtics always do whenever they have a huge lead in a certain victory, Gino appeared on the JumboTron with just over a minute left to play. Of course, nobody loves Gino more than Kevin Garnett, who watched intently with a massive smile on his face. As he watched, the video cut to a camera set on him and, as he appeared, the crowd erupted. Garnett, always the emotional figure he is where ever he goes, wound up shedding a few tears as those in attendance roared.
Although he was on the wrong side of it this time, it was a wonderful, wonderful moment to see a man loved so much by Celtics nation enjoy one of his all-time favorite things for perhaps the final time.