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Anthony Edwards’ 38 points and Wolves’ overtime shots hand Celtics first loss

A sloppy Celtics offensive night allowed the Timberwolves to force overtime in an erratic game of their own that Anthony Edwards stole with a vintage 38-point performance.

Boston Celtics v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Jaylen Brown started the night dunking on the run, leveling Rudy Gobert into the hardwood with a one-handed slam after shaking Karl-Anthony Towns with an up-fake. He had landed an alley-oop to Jayson Tatum on the next play, and Kristaps Porzingis buried a three in the right wing in what resembled the start of another runaway performance. It wasn’t, as he missed a potential game-winning three on the run in a rough shooting night for the Celtics.

Porzingis faced foul trouble against an active performance by Rudy Gobert. Jrue Holiday shot poorly and Tatum faded after a hot start, taking on three shots in a third quarter where the Wolves took the lead. Anthony Edwards took over as the MVP on this night, hitting three gutsy shots in a row in overtime to race ahead of the Celtics after challenging them all game, handing them their first loss — 114-109.

Boston experimented with Lamar Stevens and a deep Svi Mykhailiuk bench unit with only Tatum as a staggered starter after building a 17-12 lead. Oshae Brissett sat despite entering the game active with a left hand injury. Porzingis played through an eye ailment after entering the day questionable. Derrick White (personal) didn’t play again after the birth of his second child.

Towns changed the complexion of the game by committing back-to-back offensive fouls midway through the first to exit with three in favor of Naz Reid minutes that bothered Boston immediately. Gobert rolled for a dunk and blocked Porzingis after Reid entered, then Reid buried a three on his first shot attempt to take a lead. He and Porzingis traded tough takes inside the arc, and Tatum steadied Boston’s offense through the first quarter. Another Reid three gave Minnesota a 29-26 lead.

The Wolves allowed Tatum to drive for three straight makes at the rim into the second, losing their lead briefly before retaking it on a three-point alley oop from Kyle Anderson to Gobert. Brown helped rebuild the lead by finding Al Horford for a three, pulling up from the elbow, then hitting a triple of his own. Edwards attacked and cut that lead to three before halftime.

He kept running into the third with a three-point play in transition following Holiday’s miss inside. He hit a sick turnaround shot with Brown and Porzingis leaping in his face. He tore through Brown’s on-ball defense to hit a pair of free throws and cap an 11-2 lead. Tatum mostly disappeared until the fourth, shooting 1-for-3 in the third. Porzingis picked up a quick fourth foul guarding Gobert.

Towns even appeared to hit back-to-back shots in the lane that maintained a 72-70 Minnesota lead. His third make, which nearly tagged Holiday with a fourth foul, got erased after a successful Boston challenge. Porzingis couldn’t avoid his fifth, grabbing Nickeil Alexander-Walker in frustration after Gobert blocked him. He took a seat and a rough stretch by the bench to close the quarter helped the Wolves build a 79-74 lead with a pair of free throws following Payton Pritchard’s touch foul at half court.

Edwards went to the bench early in the fourth quarter with five personal fouls after Tatum lined him up. Sam Hauser opened the final frame with a three and Towns turned the ball over on back-to-back possessions to power a game-tying Celtics run capped by Tatum’s pull-up two. Tatum buried a step-back three over Reid to take an 88-85 lead, and he tied the game with a floater after Edwards reentered with a three. The Celtics decided to hack Gobert after his 2-for-8 start at the free throw line in a 98-98 game, and drew two more misses out of him before Brown and Jaden McDaniels traded threes.

Edwards missed a pair of pull-up threes with the game on the line, while Horford slid out-of-bounds catching a pass on the roll from Tatum with a two-for-one opportunity. Brown missed a good look from three before the buzzer for the win.

Holiday drew a charge on Towns and Tatum inflicted his sixth foul on him to begin overtime, but lost his handle dribbling against Edwards, winning it and pushing the ball ahead to Mike Conley go-ahead three. Brown committed an offensive foul, and Edwards took control of the offense, hitting a jump shot, then another, then another. Porzingis tried to reset the offense, with stalled after misses by Holiday, Tatum and Brown, by dribbling past Gobert to draw free throws. He tripped over Gobert two plays later guarding McDaniels, who hit a game-icing pull up in the lane.

Hauser threw away a pass and Edwards danced across the floor — catching the ensuing in-bounds and running out the clock on one of his finest nights.

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