Celtics at Timberwolves
7:00 pm Central
The Celtics come in at 4-6 having lost last night at home to Portland. New coach Brad Stevens has the Celtics playing better than many expected with a depleted roster that is missing star point guard Rajon Rondo, who is recovering from knee surgery. In his absence, Jordan Crawford has been surprisingly effective as a playmaker, averaging over 6 assists per 36 and shooting the ball well in the early going.
Overall, however, the Celtics have struggled offensively, with turnovers being a major culprit, not surprising when they are relying on two combo guards-Avery Bradley in addition to Crawford--to handle the ball. Jeff Green and Jared Sulinger have emerged as the Celtics primary scorers, with Green shooting well from three (39%) and getting to the line for 6 FTAs/36, while Sulinger has impressed in the paint and is shooting over 50% from the field.
Hopefully, the Wolves will be able to take advantage of their propensity to turn it over and get out and run, which is when they are at their best.
Boston has been significantly better on the defensive end, with the 10th best defensive rating in the NBA. Opponents are doing particularly poorly from three point range against the Celtics, shooting only 30%. Whether this has to do with their schemes or whether it's simply early season variance is unclear.
They have shown two defensive weaknesses that the Wolves will look to exploit: they have been the worst defensive rebounding team in the league thus far, and they put their opponents on the free throw line among the most in the NBA. Hopefully Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic in particular can take advantage of those weaknesses and get going on the offensive glass and at the line.
This is a chance to see a couple of interesting players in the Canis Hoopus world: Kelly Olynyk, a player who many liked in the draft and whom is it believed Flip Saunders intended to pick when he made his fateful draft night trade. Olynyk is off to a slow start, shooting it poorly and turning the ball over excessively, though he has shown some early chops on the offensive glass. Courtney Lee, a player who many Wolves fans would like to acquire, has been coming off the bench for the Cs and shooting well in the early going, both inside and outside the arc.