A clutch performance early this season gave Kevin Garnett(notes) a win at Target Center, an arena he knows well. The Boston Celtics certainly could have used a similar late-game effort from him in their last home game.
Garnett looks to remain undefeated against his former team and help the Celtics bounce back from their first loss in 12 games as they face the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night.
Garnett had 12 points, 11 rebounds and came up big down the stretch to help Boston (20-5) hold on for a 92-90 victory at Minnesota (5-22) on Nov. 4. The star big man improved to 3-0 against the Timberwolves, making two outstanding interior pases for layups in the final period, then forcing a jump ball with Corey Brewer(notes) on an alert play with 3.6 seconds left to seal the win.
Garnett played 12 seasons with Minnesota before being traded to Boston on July 31, 2007.
Though Garnett had 21 points and 10 rebounds Friday night, the Celtics had an 11-game winning streak end with a 98-97 loss to Philadelphia. The 76ers got a tip-in with 7.7 seconds left from their own veteran forward, Elton Brand(notes).
Boston fell to 8-4 at the TD Garden. The Celtics have gone 35-6 at home in each of their last two seasons, winning their 18th NBA title in 2008.
“When you have a team on the ropes like that, especially at home … we’ve got to do a better job,” Boston swingman Paul Pierce(notes) said. “I don’t know what the problem is about us playing at home this year.”
The Celtics have won four straight at home against the Timberwolves and six in a row overall.
Wallace was ejected for the 30th time, the most in the NBA since 1992. He has 10 technicals this season, six shy of receiving an automatic suspension.
“Whether he’s right or wrong doesn’t matter. You’ve got to try to control yourself to stay in the game,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “He understands his value to the team, and his teammates understand his value. At some point, they’ll talk to him.”
Boston will need Wallace to help defend second-year Minnesota forward Kevin Love(notes), who has posted five straight double-doubles. Love had 20 points and 16 rebounds in the Wolves’ 112-96 win over Sacramento on Friday night.
“I have to keep getting in shape, keep getting those rebounds, and keep getting easy buckets,” said Love, the fifth overall pick in the 2008 draft.
Love is averaging 14.4 points and 12.4 rebounds in nine games since returning from a broken left hand. He’s averaging 14.6 rebounds over his last five contests, with Minnesota winning two of the last three.
Corey Brewer has complemented Love with strong play from the perimeter. He had 20 points against the Kings after matching a career high with 22 in the Wolves’ 110-108 win over Utah on Monday night.
“We obviously need some outside shooting for our team to be able to be productive,” Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis said. “The nights he’s able to knock down outside shots it just adds a whole other element to our offense.”