LRicky Rubio’s Timberwolves squandered an advantage of up to 17 points to be defeated on Friday night in overtime against the Boston Celtics by 145-136 and with an exhibition of the local star, Jayson Tatum, who was unstoppable and scored 53 points , the highest figure of his professional career.
Tatum, who had a double-double with 53 points and 10 rebounds, scored 6 of the 10 triples he tried and 15 of the 16 free throws, in addition to serving 4 assists and 1 stopper. His teammate Jaylen Brown had 26 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks while Marcus Smart had 24 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists and 2 steals.
Timberwolves power forward Karl-Anthony Towns (KAT) was the top scorer for his team and also had a double-double, with 30 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists and 1 steal. The recovered D’Angelo Russell had 26 points, 4 rebounds and 8 assists while Anthony Edwards had 24 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 steal.
The Wolves’ Spanish point guard, Ricky Rubio, scored 4 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals while his partner, Juancho Hernangmez, also from Spain, had 10 points and 4 rebounds. Juancho scored 2 triples of the 3 he tried and now accumulates 201 triples in the NBA.
At first, the game was planned as an easy victory for Boston: the Celtics are the seventh team in the Eastern Conference while the Wolves are the worst in the entire NBA, with only 13 victories this season.
But the start of the game was not a sign of that difference between the two teams. The Timberwolves, who have suffered all season from poor starts that doom them in the later stages of games, came out with a speed they had not exhibited until now.
In the first minutes of the first quarter, Rubio had already stolen three balls and threw with great precision counterattacks that Boston’s were unable to stop. The defensive anticipation, something that has not been part of the language of the team this season, allowed that with 4 minutes remaining in the first quarter, the Wolves were 6 points ahead, 18-24.
The player rotation did not disrupt the Wolves’ plan. When the Boston team approached the scoreboard with 2 minutes to go in the quarter, Hernangmez, who had just entered, nailed a triple, the 200th of his career, which put distance back on the scoreboard.
At the end of the first 12 minutes, the Wolves were ahead 25-39, 14 points that made Minnesotans dream. Tatum had only scored 6 points while KAT had 10 and Edwards 9.
In the second quarter, the Boston staged a small comeback thanks to Tatum, who began to find the measure to the Wolves defense. The Celtics forward scored 12 points in the second quarter while Minnesota’s most effective players, Towns and Edwards, had to settle for 3 points per head. Only the Timberwolves’ second pvot, Naz Reid, held the guy with 8 points.
Still, the Wolves went into halftime 9 points ahead, 57-66.
Returning from the dressing room, Tatum came out revitalized while the Wolves, despite being ahead of 17 points, began to run out of momentum with which they started the game. Minnesota’s defense, the worst in the NBA, finally showed its weakness, and Tatum took a running start accompanied by Marcus Smart.
The forward finished the third quarter with 17 points while Smart scored 11. Between the two they made 80% of the Celtics’ points in that period.
Meanwhile, KAT practically disappeared with only 4 points in the third quarter. The Wolves managed to save the fourth thanks to the points of Edwards (8) and Josh Okogie (7) who until then had signed a good defensive night against Tatum.
The third quarter ended with a 92-97 score.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Wolves suffered one of their usual “woes.” From the start, the Celtics endorsed them 15-3, which put Boston ahead in the score 107-100. The Boston advantage will increase to 11 points, 122-111, with 2.51 remaining for the end of the game.
But the Wolves made a final effort, they punished the Celtics with a 0-10 partial and with 9.7 seconds remaining, they tied the game with a triple by Russell that before entering hit the basket.
In the five minutes of overtime, the Wolves were undone by the ERA of Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker who signed 18 of the Celtics’ 21 points in overtime. Unable to respond, the Wolves accumulated their 40th loss of the season in Boston.