Gordon Hayward scored 30 points in 30 minutes without starting, dominating off the bench in a 118-109 Celtics win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night at the Target Center. Hayward scored 16 points in the fourth quarter, including 13 in the final 7:03 of the game.
Kyrie Irving started and contributed 21 points of his own, to go with nine assists in 35 minutes. Hayward added nine rebounds, eight assists, and two steals in the victory, and went 4-for-5 from three-point range and 10-for-10 from the free-throw line.
Brad Stevens went with a starting five of Irving, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris, and the returning Al Horford on Saturday. They put together a solid first half offensively, as the starters shot 14-for-27 (51.9 percent) as a group. Hayward’s big-time game off the bench started with 14 of his 30 points in the first two quarters. With the game tied 36-36 with 7:05 in the second, the Celtics closed out the first half on a 21-12 run to take a 57-48 lead to the locker room.
Boston held a seven-point lead through three quarters, mainly thanks to Jayson Tatum’s nine points on 4-for-4 shooting in the third. Two of his points came off a highlight-reel pass from Smart, who heaved the ball while off his feet to Tatum for a fast-break. Tatum fed the ball to Morris, who floated it back up to him for the alley-oop.
But Minnesota battled back in the fourth, as Derrick Rose and Robert Covington spurred the Wolves to a 10-0 run after the Celtics took an 89-79 lead, tying the game at 89 with 8:49 left. Rose led the Wolves with 26 points.
Morris sparked the Celtics to a 9-0 answer after the late tie, scoring five straight points. The trio of Hayward, Irving, and Tatum closed things out from there. Irving and Tatum scored five and four fourth-quarter points, respectively.
The Celtics improved to 13-10 on the season with the win, and have won four of five after a 9-9 start. They’ve averaged 123.3 points over the course of their three-game win streak. The C’s don’t play again until Thursday against the New York Knicks at TD Garden.
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