Joe Murray

Joe Murray

Joe Murray

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 17: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics looks on during the second quarter of the Celtic's preseason game against the New York Knicks at TD Garden on October 17, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

On Wednesday night in Boston the best team in the Eastern Conference the 28-8 Boston Celtics hosted the number one team in the Western Conference the 26-10 Minnesota Timberwolves. However both teams found themselves a little short handed headed into this one as Minnesota coming off a back to back were missing Rudy Gobert and the Celtics on the first night of a back to back were without Kristaps Porzingis. 

With both teams leading there conferences this is a marquee matchup even without these guys as Jayson Tatum and Anthony Edwards have become two of the premier stars of the league. Boston would look to capitalize early in this one as Minnesota was late to get to Boston due to a storm and Boston knows they have Milwaukee waiting for them tomorrow night.

 First Quarter

Both teams got off to a somewhat slow start in this one shooting poorly and making questionable passes out of the gate. Al Horford would get the start for Boston in Porzingis’ place and he was hitting the glass early looking to take advantage of Gobert’s absence. Jaylen Brown who was rightfully frustrated at the end of the Celtics game on Monday came out on fire, as he usually does  with 6 quick points early in the first.

A small concern early on for Boston was Jrue Holiday getting into foul trouble giving Sam Hauser an early entrance into the game. First quarter Jaylen was in full effect in this one as he started to take over with 4:30 left in the first hitting multiple tough shots, racking up 15 quick points in 9 minutes. Both sides would trade shots throughout the quarter with the Celtics leading by 5 at the end of the first quarter 32-17.

  • Second Quarter

    Minnesota would continue to cut into Boston’s lead early in the second with Naz Reid and Karl Anthony-Towns making their size felt outrebounding Boston and cutting their lead to two 36-34 with 9:30 to go in the half. Boston would start to pick it up on both ends the next couple minutes with Luke Kornet giving them great bench minutes against Minnesota’s big men while Tatum started to his his shots giving Boston a 43-34 lead forcing Chris Finch to call a timeout with 8:29 to go in the second.

    Minnesota needed superstar Anthony Edwards to step up with Gobert out against a top team but he was off to a slow start with only 6 points through the halfway point of the second quarter. Boston would get it’s lead up to 9 but a five minute scoreless drought would allow the Timberwolves to cut the Boston lead to one 45-44 with 3:20 left in the half.  Both sides would trade shots as the quarter winded down with Edwards finally starting to make his impact felt on the game with two late buckets to cut Boston’s lead to 1 at the half 54-43.

  • Third Quarter

    The third would become more of a rock fight than the first half, with both teams playing tough defense and the offenses going cold. Minnesota would cap off a 17-3 run going back to the second quarter to take their largest lead of the night 65-62 with 8:05 to go in the third. Brown and Edwards would trade shots throughout the quarter as Brown was up to 27 points with 6:15 left in the quarter leading all scorers.

    The two teams couldn’t separate themselves with zero lead changes in the first half there were nine in the third quarter alone. Edwards would start to get hot though and this was bad news for the Celtics as Minnesota would go up 82-77 after a tough Edwards step back 3 pointer with 2:30 to go in the third. The Minnesota superstar was 10/18 from the floor with 24 points 5 rebounds and 1 assist through the first 3 quarters.

    For all the fans concerned about this game not living up to the hype with Minnesota on the second night of a back to back and both teams missing a key starter there was no more cause for concern as they headed to the fourth quarter in a tight hard fought battle with Minnesota leading 85-79.

  • Fourth Quarter

    Boston would head to the fourth with its ten month home win stand on the line trailing by 6 early in the quarter.  Sam Hauser would hit a pair of 3’s early in the fourth but Minnesota would answer quickly keeping the lead at 6 with 9 minutes to go in the game. As the fourth quarter went on the level of play continued to increase as both teams were treating this like a playoff game not a game in early January. Brown, Edwards and Tatum the superstars all took turns hitting massive shots but Kyle Anderson was Minnesota’s X-factor in this one hitting every shot the Timberwolves needed late. With 4:09 left in the game it looked like Boston’s ten month home win stand (the longest in Celtics history) was in serious jeopardy with Minnesota leading 104-95.

    A pair of Jaylen Brown free throws with 3 minutes left would cut Minnesota’s lead to four 106-102 with time winding down for the Celtics. Minnesota would get up to 109 but then Jayson Tatum came alive with back to back massive buckets for Boston including a tough step back 3 pointer making it 109-107 with a minute to go in the game.  Minnesota had multiple chances to close the Celtics out but an air ball with 41 seconds left would give Boston a chance to tie or better.

    Jayson Tatum would get Towns up in the popcorn popper and draw a foul but he’d miss the second and who else but Derrick White would grab the rebound for Boston kicking it out to Jrue Holiday for a huge 3 pointer to give Boston a crazy comeback 111-109 lead with 25 seconds left. Edwards would go on to hit a pair of free throws and then Tatum would miss a shot at the buzzer to send the two best teams in the league to overtime tied at 111.


  • Overtime

    Overtime would start with both teams trading shots once again but it wouldn’t matter in the final minute as it was the Jayson Tatum show all over again. Tatum would hit a pair of clutch free throws to tie the game at 120 then he’d hit back to back buckets including a nasty step back 3 pointer to give Boston a 125-120 lead with 49 seconds to go. No debates in this one no late controversial calls this was the Celtics game of the year and they showed up late to show why they deserve to be the NBA title favorites. Boston would hang on to win 127-120 and improve there league best record headed into their Eastern Conference clash against Milwaukee.


    Scaz’s takeaways

    • Minnesota is not just a good story there one of the 4 best teams in the league
    • Anthony Edwards continues to prove he’s a superstar
    • Celtics late game execution still needs work
    • I think everybody would take 7 more of this game at the end of the season


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