Game 53 Preview: Boston Celtics vs Minnesota Timberwolves

Boston Celtics (28-22) vs Minnesota Timberwolves (25-27)

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Garnett had harsh words for the Timberwolves organization.

Garnett had harsh words for the Timberwolves organization. Last game: Minnesota: W, 88-83 vs Charlotte, Boston: W, 94-82 vs Utah

The Timberwolves beat a bad Charlotte team Wednesday on the wings of yet another superstar performance by Kevin Love. Love dropped 40 points and grabbed 19 rebounds on the Bobcats, who threw several different defenders onto the floor but were completely unable to stop Love. Luke Ridnour also played an excellent game, putting up 14 assists in the win.

The Celtics won a statement game against Utah on Wednesday. In a match-up of ex Timberwolves big men, Kevin Garnett scored 23, while Al Jefferson scored 18 in the loss.

The Key Questions

#1. How should Timberwolves fans react to Kevin Garnett, in light of his recent comments about Minnesota’s organization?

Garnett recently was quoted as saying he has “nothing good to say” about Minnesota’s franchise. This isn’t the first time he has had bad things to say about the organization and probably won’t be the last.

However, Garnett, in the same interview, complimented his “true fans.” So really, his only beef is with the organization itself. Kahn wasn’t around when Garnett was traded so….TAAAAAAAAAAYLORRRRRRR!

#2. How will the Wolves match up defensively against the Celtics?

Zach Lowe, in an excellent breakdown of Kevin Love’s MVP candidacy, pointed out Love’s annoying tendency to sag under screens on the pick and roll, which leaves the Wolves vulnerable against power forwards who can knock down shots with range. Brandon Bass can knock down shots from range. He could punish the Wolves tonight if Minnesota’s pick and roll defense isn’t up to par.

#3. How will home and away records affect the game?

The Celtics are 10-14 away from the TD Banknorth Garden this season, and they seem to be much more motivated when playing in front of their home crowds. The Wolves are 13-12 at home.

The Key Matchups

Will Kevins Love and Garnett see time against each other? If so, Garnett actually expressed respect for Love’s game (!!!), so perhaps don’t expect to see the usual Garnett woofing. Regardless, if they do end up matched against each other, Love will have his hands full. Garnett has been playing exceptionally well since the All-Star break.

Speaking of having their hands full, if Rajon Rondo shows up active and engaged (which is legitimately a question with him), there will be little Luke Ridnour can do to stay in front of him.

Minnesota could REALLY use Nikola Pekovic. He would be able to push Kevin Garnett around in the post.

The Outlook

Boston doesn’t play well on the road, and Minnesota is exactly the type of team the Celtics are likely to lose their focus against. However, the C’s are 13-5 since the All-Star break and playing like world beaters at the moment. While it certainly isn’t out of the question, don’t count on a victory tonight.