Who: Boston Celtics (16-17) at Minnesota Timberwolves (15-17)
When: 7:00pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio
Line: Celtics -6.0
first night of a back-to-back.— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) December 27, 2021
Wolves vs. Celtics
7:00pm CT, @TargetCenterMN
Preview » https://t.co/iFcDWSeqv5 pic.twitter.com/x2O32A5ee5
What To Watch For
The Minnesota Timberwolves are BACK, baby! Well OK,
most of them are some of them are actually I don’t really know who is playing anymore.
As many of you know by now, COVID-19 has ripped it’s way through the NBA over the last few weeks, forcing the league to postpone games, amend transaction policies, and dilute the overall product to a level I’m not sure I’ve ever seen before. The last time I checked, I believe almost 40% of NBA players have been or are currently in the NBA Health & Safety Protocols, which has forced teams to promote multiple G-Leagues as well as sign a laundry list of “remember him?” guys like Lance Stephenson, Darren Collison, and Greg Monroe.
Yes, THE MOOSE IS LOOSE IN MINNESOTA:
Free agent center Greg Monroe plans to sign a 10-day contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 26, 2021
Back to the COVID-19 issue for a second — the league was clearly (financially) motivated to pull off their Christmas day extravaganza, and to their credit (I guess?) they did just that — four of the five games were very competitive with three of the games coming down to the last possession or two.
But now that the holiday weekend is behind us, it may be time for the NBA to re-address this entire situation and try to come up with a better plan than what they currently have on the table. Postponing more games or “pausing” the season isn’t a viable option like it might have been a year ago, especially when you factor in that arenas are booked up next spring/summer with a variety of other events. You could cancel All-Star weekend and try using that week of the season to play games that were postponed and stretch things out a bit that way, otherwise the only real solution would be to shorten the season entirely and have teams play the same reduced number of games.
What I’m trying to say is this — any possible solution to this current mess is a shit show, but is it that much more of a shit show than forcing depleted rosters to play meaningful games in front of disgruntled fans that paid good money just so they could NOT watch their favorite player? /end rant
For now though, it’s the Boston Celtics against YOUR Minnesota Timberwolves, live tonight at Target Center! The Wolves might be getting one of their five starters back tonight (more on that in a second), but will still be without over half of their rotation as they look to put an end to their current two-game losing streak.
Brace yourself here... seriously, you might want to take a seat before reading the following tweet:
Minnesota @Timberwolves Status Report in advance of tomorrow’s game vs Boston: pic.twitter.com/zjbLC8nurZ— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) December 27, 2021
As the latest injury report shows, the Timberwolves will for sure be without four of their five starters tonight (Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards, and Jarred Vanderbilt) but might be adding Patrick Beverley back into the equation. Since we last spoke, Naz Reid was also added to the Health & Safety Protocols, which likely explains why the Wolves went out and signed Greg Monroe (who should be available tonight, depending on how his pregame COVID test goes).
On the other end of the ledger, things aren’t nearly as bad for the Celtics, but they also aren’t pretty:
#NEBHInjuryReport update:— Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 27, 2021
Marcus Smart (right hand laceration) - QUESTIONABLE https://t.co/7acrjw4n9h
The big news here is Jayson Tatum, who was added to the COVID protocols early Monday morning. The Celtics also announced that Marcus Smart has been downgraded to QUESTIONABLE against Minnesota, which is never a good sign on the day of a game.
Available Celtics tonight at Timberwolves:— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) December 27, 2021
Ballhandlers: M. Smart, P. Pritchard
Wings: J. Brown, R. Langford, B. Thomas, J. Johnson
Bigs: R. Williams, A. Horford, J. Parker, J. Hernangomez, S. Hauser, A. Aminu, N. Pelle
G. Williams is questionable to play.
Keith Smith laid out who IS available tonight for the Celtics, with Smart obviously now being a question mark. The Celtics should still have a major advantage against the super depleted Timberwolves squad (which is reflected in Boston being a six-point favorite), but as we’ve learned throughout this wild and tumultuous NBA season — anything is possible.
Prediction time — maybe it’s the eggnog hangover, but give me Minnesota +6 tonight. Yes, the Celtics still have Jaylen Brown (along with a variety of other talented players), but if Beverley can return to the lineup, I like the Wolves chances of mucking it up enough at home to try and keep it close throughout. Boston 108, Minnesota 103.