Boston's Kevin Garnett made his return to the court in Minnesota and had a big impact as he led the Celtics to a comfortable victory over the Timberwolves. The Celtics' All-Star power forward scored 17 points in his first game back at the Target Centre since being traded from the Timberwolves to Boston last season.
Garnett received an appreciative reception from the crowd in Minnesota, where he spent the first 12 seasons of his career, leading the team to the Western Conference Finals and winning an MVP Award in 2004. "It's always good to go somewhere and feel the love in the building," Garnett said. He had been injured during the Celtics' trip to Minnesota last season and did not play, but went on to win his first NBA title in June.
"When you get a crowd like that you want to show them we are competing," the Timberwolves forward Ryan Gomes said. "Tonight, we didn't show them that at all." The defending NBA champions Celtics exhibited teamwork and balance on a night they had six players scoring in double figures and improved to a record of 12-2 for the year. Al Jefferson led all scorers with 23 points for Minnesota, who have won just two of 11 games this season.
The young Timberwolves took a 39-36 lead into half-time, but made a franchise-low two field goals in the third quarter. They finished 31 percent (26-for-83) from the field for the game. Boston took control of the game in the second half by out scoring the Timberwolves 35-10 in the third, where Rajon Rondo made a 30-footer as time expired to end the period. Rondo finished with 13 points and seven rebounds to go along with 12 points from Paul Pierce.
After trying his best to stay composed in the first half in the emotional environment, Garnett let loose in the second half and scored eight in the pivotal third. "I thought Kevin almost talked himself into not being too emotional," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "I like the nutty, high-energy Kevin. In the second half, he started playing again." * Reuters