The Boston Celtics extended their perfect start to the season with a 118-107 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night at Target Center. The Celtics improved to 6-0, the only unbeaten team in the NBA, while the Timberwolves dropped to 3-3.
Jayson Tatum continued his stellar performance, scoring 34 points on 13-of-22 shooting, including 5-of-9 from beyond the arc. He also added seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Tatum became the youngest player in Celtics history to reach 10,000 career points in the previous game against the Brooklyn Nets, and he showed no signs of slowing down against the Timberwolves.
Tatum was supported by Kristaps Porzingis, who had 22 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks. Porzingis played despite having a right eye sty, which did not seem to affect his vision or shooting. Al Horford also had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Oshae Brissett chipped in 15 points off the bench.
The Celtics shot 50.6 percent from the field and 40.7 percent from the three-point line. They also outrebounded the Timberwolves 49-38 and had 28 assists on 44 made field goals.
Edwards and Towns Shine for Timberwolves
The Timberwolves were led by Anthony Edwards, who scored 28 points on 10-of-18 shooting, including 4-of-8 from deep. He also had six rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Edwards has been on a scoring tear lately, averaging 27.3 points in his last four games.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 27 points, nine rebounds, and four assists, but he also committed six turnovers and fouled out with 3:19 left in the fourth quarter. Towns had a tough matchup against Horford and Porzingis, who made him work hard on both ends of the floor.
The Timberwolves shot 46.2 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from the three-point line, but they also had 18 turnovers that led to 24 points for the Celtics. They also struggled to contain the Celtics’ offense, especially in the third quarter, when they allowed 37 points.
Celtics Pull Away in the Third Quarter
The game was close in the first half, with the Celtics leading 56-53 at halftime. The Timberwolves even took a 61-60 lead early in the third quarter after a three-pointer by Edwards. However, the Celtics responded with a 16-2 run, capped by a three-pointer by Tatum, to take a 76-63 lead with 6:32 left in the period.
The Celtics maintained their double-digit lead for the rest of the quarter, thanks to their balanced scoring and efficient shooting. They had seven players score in the third quarter, with Tatum leading the way with 13 points. They also shot 14-of-21 from the field and 6-of-9 from the three-point line in the period.
The Timberwolves tried to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to nine points on several occasions. However, the Celtics always had an answer, whether it was a timely basket by Porzingis, a clutch three-pointer by Brissett, or a defensive stop by Horford. The Celtics sealed the win with a 9-0 run in the final two minutes, punctuated by a dunk by Tatum.
What’s Next for Both Teams
The Celtics will face their biggest test of the season on Wednesday, when they visit the Philadelphia 76ers, who are 5-1 and second in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics will try to extend their winning streak and prove their status as one of the elite teams in the league.
The Timberwolves will have a day off before hosting the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday. The Timberwolves will try to bounce back from their loss and snap a four-game losing streak against the Lakers, who are 4-2 and third in the Western Conference.