The Boston Celtics start April with a loss in Minnesota as they were without Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Nikola Pekovic singlehandedly won the game for the Timberwolves as he scored 29 points and grabbed 5 rebounds. Boston had no one who could stop him, being shorthanded in the front court. Pekovic wasn’t the only reason why the Celtics lost. Lack of energy, careless turnovers that lead to Minnesota fast break points, and very little production from Boston’s key rotational players also contributed. It could be argued that without Pierce, Garnett, and Rajon Rondo, tonight was a flashback to the 2006-2007 season.
The Celtics came out flat tonight on both ends of the floor. There wasn’t much defense which resulted in easy interior points for the Timberwolves, and their was no leader to command the offense for Boston. After tonight’s game, there should be a newfound appreciation for the Big Three and what they bring to the team. Without them Boston looked like a directionless college basketball team searching for someone to lead the team to a victory. Tonight was certainly not the way to start off a new month with eight games remaining in the regular season.
Turnovers proved to be a killer for Boston. When they got the Timberwolves lead to within single digits, the Celtics would make a careless pass that resulted in an easy bucket in transition for Minnesota. The Celtics definitely miss Rajon Rondo, or at least an established point guard who can fully direct the team on offense and make sure everyone is in the right position on a possession. When Boston was forced to operate in the half court set, they looked lost, unsure where to look for points on offense. Jeff Green was unable to step up tonight due to Minnesota’s defense, so Avery Bradley kept the team afloat with 19 points, but it wasn’t enough. Paul Pierce was definitely missed tonight, and can’t return soon enough as Boston needs a commander on the floor to play effectively throughout games.
Tonight felt more like a preseason game since the Celtics didn’t field their veterans and the bench got a majority of the playing time. With the Milwaukee Bucks winning their game, the Celtics are only a game and a half ahead of them for the final playoff spot in the East. If Boston doesn’t step it up, they’ll be facing the Miami Heat in the first round, which is a Celtics fans’ worst nightmare.
Boston needs to capitalize on games such as tonight. The Timberwolves were without their best player in Kevin Love and have faced their own fair share of injuries this season. With to without the veterans, the Celtics should have come away with the victory tonight. They take on the Detroit Pistons Wednesday, who have given Boston trouble in the past. Pierce is expected to play, and they’ll need him for the Celtics to get their first win of April.