With 2019 now upon us, we start off the year with the Minnesota Timberwolves in town and the Boston Celtics will be looking to sweep the season series after winning the previous game 118-109 in Minnesota (Dec. 1). The Celtics return home after going 1-2 on the last road trip of the year, the team finished this west coast swing of games with a 120-111 loss to San Antonio Monday night.
Rebounding proved to be a big achilles heal to this team on the road in all three stops: San Antonio, Memphis and Houston. Minnesota will provide yet another stern challenge in the rebounding department as both KAT and Taj Gibson will be looking to dominate the Celtics on the glass.
Karl-Anthony Towns has been putting up impressive number through his previous four games, posting All Star level stats of 28.3 pts, 18.5 rbs, 5.5 ast and 3.5 blk per game. Towns once more will be up against fellow Dominican big man and friend Al Horford. The Timberwolves are a long team, with both Dario Saric and Gorgui Dieng coming from the bench to provide both three point shooting and defense respectively.
Gordon Hayward played his best game of the season with 30 points against the Timberwolves in the previous meeting between these teams, and all of Celtics nation will be looking for more Gatorade to flow postgame. With Irving out tonight, look for Hayward, Marcus Morris Sr, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to be more assertive tonight. Jaylen Brown enters the game after posting his best performance of the season with an aggressive and controlled 30 points Monday night.
As far as road travel goes, the Minnesota Timberwolves aren’t great, having lost six of their last nine on the road to start the 2018-2019 season. From a historical standpoint, the Wolves have lost their last 12 trips to TD Garden, a considerable losing streak in anyone’s books.
The Timberwolves have lost their last 12 trips to TD Garden entering tonight’s game. Boston is 19-4 over the last 23 meetings between the two teams.— Chris Grenham (@chrisgrenham) January 2, 2019
As reported earlier today, Kyrie Irving has been ruled OUT for the Celtics after suffering a scratch to the eye in the San Antonio game. In his words Irving, while wearing sunglasses, told the Boston Globe after the game that Spur Marco Bellinelli:
”He smacked the (expletive) out of me,” and “He caught me pretty good.”
For the Timberwolves at point guard both Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague, are out tonight, so look for Tyus Jones to run things once more for the Wolves. Newly acquired Robert Covington has also been ruled out with an ankle sprain.
With Kyrie Irving unavailable, coach Brad Stevens will likely go with Terry Rozier alongside Marcus Smart in the backcourt. The last time Rozier started in green he played 32 minutes and logged 10 pts, 6 asts and 7 rebs against New Orleans, December 10th.
PG – Terry Rozier – Tyus Jones
SG – Marcus Smart – Josh Okogie
SF – Jayson Tatum – Andrew Wiggins
PF – Marcus Morris Sr – Taj Gibson
C – Al Horford – Karl-Anthony Towns
Boston – Aron Baynes (Hand), Robert Williams (Groin), Kyrie Irving (Eye).
Minnesota – Derrick Rose (ankle), Jeff Teague (ankle), Robert Covington (ankle).
How To Watch
Time – 8:00 EST
TV – NBC Sports Boston