Boston Celtics

Dec 27, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Malik Beasley (5) dribbles the ball as Boston Celtics forward Al Horford (42) defends during the first quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

For the third time in four games, the Boston Celtics blew a second-half lead to lose. This time, it came on the road against the depleted Minnesota Timberwolves by a 108-103 final Monday night. Despite missing Karl-Anthony Towns and others, Minnesota outscored Boston 50-26 in the paint, led by a combined 37 points from big men Jaden McDaniels and Nathan Knight.

The Celtics led by as many as 12 points during the third quarter, but the Timberwolves took over and at one point went on a 21-4 run late in the second half. Guard Jaylen Nowell led Minnesota with 29 points in 35 minutes off the bench. Nowell hadn’t scored more than 16 points in a game all season.

Boston had to play without Jayson Tatum after placing the 23-year-old in the NBA’s health & safety protocol. Tatum missed five games in January, during the 2020-21 season, after testing positive for COVID-19.

Jaylen Brown led the Tatum-less C’s with 26 points, but shot just 8-for-24 from the floor. Payton Pritchard continued his recent hot streak with 24 points. He’s scored in double digits in four of his last five games.

Al Horford, Grant Williams, and Sam Hauser returned from COVID reserve for the Celtics against the Timberwolves. Horford scored 16 points to go with nine rebounds and six assists.

The Celtics have now lost seven of their last 10 games. They’re expected to get back to it on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers.

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