Now that the Boston Celtics’ roster is relatively healthy, players on the second unit can now fall into familiar roles that they’ll be counted on to play this season.
And their play was pivotal to Boston rallying for a 99-93 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
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Isaiah Thomas led the way for Boston with 29 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter.
Boston trailed 81-66 near the end of the third quarter, the kind of deficit that’s difficult to overcome … unless you’re playing the Timberwolves who are one of the league’s worst teams in the second half of games this season.
Minnesota had a solid third quarter but completely fell apart in the fourth as the Celtics went on a 19-0 run to end the third that carried into the fourth which was capped off by Terry Rozier drilling a 3-pointer followed by a one-handed dunk that made it 85-81.
Rozier, who had 12 points, wasn’t the only Celtics reserve coming up big for the Celtics.
Marcus Smart hit a pair of 3s in the first half, and stepped up his play defensively and on the boards in the second. He finished with nine points, six rebounds and five assists.
Jonas Jerebko had five points but did a lot of positive things defensively for the Celtics (8-6), winners of their last two games – both on the road.
The Timberwolves got another strong game from Karl-Anthony Towns who showed once again why he’s one of the more promising big men in the NBA.
He finished with 27 points and 18 rebounds.
Gorgui Dieng gave the Celtics problems as well with 18 points and eight rebounds.
For Boston, this was a game in which they found a way to win in large part because of what they were able to do defensively, forcing Minnesota to miss 20 of their 23 shots from the field in the fourth quarter.
Boston also got another solid all-around performance from Al Horford who had 20 points, six rebounds and five assists with none bigger than an errant pass to him in the paint that he tapped out to Marcus Smart for a 3-pointer in the fourth that was one of the many big shots to bury the Timberwolves (4-9) whose play reinforced the belief that they are in fact the worst second-half team in the league.