The Celtics picked up a solid road win in Minnesota on Thursday. If not for one play, they would have nothing to worry about.
On Thursday night, the Boston Celtics were able to defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves 117-109. Boston led for pretty much the entire game and Kyrie Irving put Minnesota away in the fourth. Irving finished with 23-7-8 on just 15 shots.
Also, Al Horford finished with 20-8-6. It looks like he is bouncing back from a brief cold streak that fans were quick to point out.
Marcus Morris also continued his good play off the bench, putting up 17 points in 32 minutes. For now, it looks like Morris is the number one option off the bench.
Other than those standout performers, here are the Four Leaf Clovers from last nights game.
Jaylen Brown takes a scary fall
In a game filled with positives, a freak accident almost gave the Celtics a reason to worry. After making a great play on a fastbreak dunk, Jaylen Brown landed right on his neck.
However, after a few minutes of silence and Gordon Hayward flashbacks, Brown got up under his own power and walked to the locker room. He probably got a concussion and could be out for an extended period of team. After the game, Jaylen expressed his gratitude and told fans he is OK. Hopefully he can get back soon.
First Quarter Efficiency
The Celtics rank 20th in the league in first quarter scoring. Sometimes, the team can get off to a rough start. A good amount of wins have been comebacks and Boston probably leads the league in 10-point deficits for playoff teams.
However, the Celtics were amazing in the first quarter last night. The team shot 58% from the field, 4/8 from three, and assisted 10 times on 14 field goals. Irving, Brown, and Morris combined for 24 of 35 points. It might have been the best offensive stretch of any game this season.
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Getting out to an early lead helped later in the game when Minnesota was making a comeback. First quarter scoring is imperative for any hopeful contender to put teams away early and alleviate any jitters. It is no coincidence that Golden State and Houston rank first and third respectively in that stat.
Marcus Smart is BACK
Marcus Smart had 9 points, 6 assists, and 2 steals yesterday. On face value, this looks like nothing impressive. Smart averages 10 points and 5 assists on the season.
If someone was not impressed with Smart yesterday, they clearly did not watch a minute of last night’s game with Smart on the floor. He deflected countless passes and dove on the floor multiple times. Look up gritty in the dictionary and there is a picture of #36 in green.
Marcus is almost as valuable to this team as Kyrie Irving and equally important as Al Horford. He is a winner. Smart makes plays every team needs to be successful. If he ever gets a shot he could be an All-Star. Still, that one fault does not mean he does not belong. I’ll pay Marcus whatever he wants this offseason.
Kyrie Irving is playoff-ready
Kyrie subbed into the game with 7 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Celtics were up by 9 and the Timberwolves were on a run.
Then “Playoff Kyrie” showed up.
He made his mark right away, scoring 6 points in 90 seconds. In a flash, the Celtics were up double digits and the game was practically over.
Kyrie is an assassin. That version of #11 is exactly what the Celtics needs in the playoffs. If they make a long run, it will be because Kyrie Irving was the best player in every series. Simple as that.
The Celtics host Indiana on Sunday. The Pacers are still hanging around in the playoff hunt, so the game should be a fair test for both teams.