Soaring to the front of the class


Soaring to the front of the class

MINNEAPOLIS It can be lonely at the top, not that the Boston Celtics (29-22) mind of course.

The C's 100-79 win over Minnesota combined with Philadelphia's loss at Washington, has catapulted the Celtics into first place - all by themselves - in the Atlantic Division.

And with that comes a more favorable seeding; that is, assuming they can hold the position which will not be easy with a series of playoff contenders on the docket.

But it is games like Friday's win over the Timberwolves that reminds us of just how far this team has come since the all-star break.

Rajon Rondo was carving up the entire Minnesota defense - if you can even call it that - to the tune of 17 assists.

For much of the game, Boston's fourth scoring option - Avery Bradley - had more points than Minnesota's Do-it-all big man, Kevin Love.

And then there was Kevin Garnett's return to where he spent more than a decade as the face of the Timberwolves franchise.

He struggled early on with his shot.

But by halftime, the rims seemed to remember that once upon a time, they were on good teams with Garnett who finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds.

The Celtics spent most of the game leading by double figures.

Minnesota had a chance to make it a single digit game with just under seven minutes to play.

But Kevin Love missed a short jumper, and Paul Pierce came down and scored at the other end to make it an 88-75 game with 6:26 to play.

A 3-point play by Love made it an 88-78 game with 5:27 to play.

The Timberwolves could not inch any closer, as the Celtics closed the game out with a 12-1 run.