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Timberwolves 106, Celtics 88

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- With the ability to get points from several sources, the Minnesota Timberwolves continue to be a difficult team to slow down offensively.

That was the case Saturday night in a 106-88 victory over the Boston Celtics. Power forward Kevin Love scored 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Timberwolves, while center Nikola Pekovic scored 20 and grabbed 12 rebounds and guard Kevin Martin added 20 points.

That trio was too much for Boston to overcome despite point guard Avery Bradley scoring a season-high 27 points and power forward Brandon Bass adding 15. No other Celtics player scored more than 10.

Reserve point guard J.J. Barea came off the bench to score 13 points for the Timberwolves while wing Dante Cunningham finished with 12 points.

Minnesota bounced back from a poor defensive performance in Friday's loss at Denver. The victory also allowed the Timberwolves to go 3-2 in a stretch in which they played five games in seven days.

The 7-4 start to the season is the second best in Timberwolves franchise history and Minnesota has scored at least 100 points in each of its victories.

After winning four consecutive games to get back to .500, the Celtics (4-7) have now lost three games in a row with road games at Houston and San Antonio upcoming early next week.

Leading by only five at halftime, Minnesota took control of the game midway through the third quarter. Pounding the ball inside and getting to the free throw line, Minnesota went on a 16-2 run. When love made a pair of free throws with 5:30 to play in the third, the Timberwolves led 75-57.

Love, who entered the game second in the league in both points-per-game and rebounds-per-game, continued his strong start to the season. His double-double was his 10th in 11 games this season and this was his ninth game in which he scored at least 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

The Celtics struggled to get much going offensively for much of the night. One night after scoring a career-high 26 points in a loss to Portland, Boston forward Jared Sullinger was held to three points.

NOTES: Celtics rookie C Vitor Faverani returned to the starting lineup. Boston coach Brad Stevens said the move was a matchup to counter the size and strength of Timberwolves C Nikola Pekovic. ... Entering his 11th game as an NBA coach, Stevens has a sense for the biggest difference between the college game and the pros. "You get a greater appreciation for how many good teams there are (in the NBA). In college, you're always on edge for the next game, but there are games that are more winnable than others. Here, if you don't play well, you're going to get beat. ... Pekovic was in the Wolves' lineup despite needing significant treatment on his injured foot Friday after a loss at Denver. ... Minnesota F Chase Budinger was back with the team Saturday night. Budinger has been in Florida rehabilitating his surgically repaired left knee. Budinger has not played this season and likely will miss another month.
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