What many thought would be a rather tumultuous six game road trip for the Celtics has turned out to be an impressive journey. A victory over the reeling Timberwolves tonight would have the Celtics at a respectable 4 wins and 2 losses. What a long strange trip it’s been.
Minnesota has lost a staggering ten consecutive games at home and six consecutive games overall. Minnesota at 7-37 is currently the worst team in the NBA. Minnesota posted its worst shooting performance of the season (34%), and is only averaging 84.6 points per game over the recent five game losing streak.
The Celtics at 16-27, have been more competitive than many have expected after losing stars Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green in trades. Brad Stevens has his group playing great team basketball, evident in recent wins against the Jazz, Nuggets and Trail Blazers. The Celts also put in an impressive effort against the Warriors on Monday, nearly pulling off an upset in the final few minutes of play.
Boston should have little trouble scoring against the Timberwolves, who rank 30th in the league in overall points allowed (107.2). Minnesota also ranks near the bottom of the league (27th) in rebounds per game–meaning that the Celtics should be able to generate some more offense in the paint.
One bright spot for Minnesota has been Andrew Wiggins-last year’s number one overall pick. Wiggins is really coming into his own and is knocking on the door of becoming one of the true superstars in the NBA. Wiggins is averaging 15 points a game overall but has posted a 19 point per game average over his last ten games. Wiggins scored 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting (9-of-12 FTs) with four rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block in Monday’s loss to the Thunder.
The Celtics, who really lack any sort of star power, have been playing as a true cohesive unit of late. Recent addition Tayshaun Prince (who still hasn’t been traded) has brought a veteran presence to the team, while rookie Marcus Smart and big man Jared Sullinger have also played well. Sullinger looked great in a loss to the Warriors on Sunday, scoring 26 points with nine boards, three assists, one steal and one 3-pointer in 30 minutes.
While the Celtics might have trouble guarding Wiggins, I expect Boston to have no trouble in finishing off the trip with a victory against the lowly Timberwolves. Oddsmakers have the Celtics as 3.5 point favorites. I like the Celtics to win outright and versus the spread.
Final Prediction: Celtics 110, Timberwolves 102
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