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Game Preview #71: Celtics at Wolves

The last weekend of Timberwolves basketball for the season is finally upon us. Feel the excitement!

Minnesota Timberwolves Trade Press Conference Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Game Info

Who: Boston Celtics (35-35) at Minnesota Timberwolves (22-48)
When: 1:00pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio

What To Watch For

On the same day that Kevin Garnett gets enshrined in the basketball Hall of Fame, the team that drafted him many years ago (Minnesota) squares off against the team that he helped bring a championship trophy to (Boston). The timing of Wolves/Celtics (which tips off at 1:00pm CST today) lines up perfectly with the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which is scheduled to begin at 4:30pm CST on ESPN.

Anytime Kevin Garnett is involved in something, it’s likely to be an emotional experience for everyone watching, and the 2021 Hall of Fame ceremony likely won’t be any different. In addition to The Big Ticket, this year’s Hall of Fame class includes storied names like Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Tamika Catchings, and Rudy Tomjanovich. The Athletic’s David Aldridge put together a great piece on this year’s class that is definitely worth a read on this lovely spring Saturday:

Not to be outdone, our own Jon Krawczynski put together this fantastic article on KG, including a multitude of untold stories from people who crossed paths with Garnett during his playing days:

Back to Wolves/Celtics — today’s matinee game is relatively meaningless for both participating franchises. We already know the Wolves have been eliminated from playoff contention for some time, but Chris Finch and his squad will continue to use these last two games to continue building chemistry and continuity as they hope for better and brighter days ahead.

As for Boston, it’s been a disastrous season filled with injuries, COVID-19 absences, and other issues, resulting in an underwhelming .500 record. The Celtics are firmly entrenched in the 7th spot in the Eastern Conference, which means they will be participants in the NBA’s play-in tournament later next week (likely against Charlotte Hornets or Indiana Pacers). Because this specific game has little meaning for Boston, many of the Celtics key rotation players will be sidelined due to rest or various injuries (more on that in a second).

Injury Reports

Again, as mentioned at the top (and countless times over the last few weeks), the Timberwolves have made it well-known that they have no intentions of “tanking” their remaining games. This means that all of the team’s main rotation players (excluding Malik Beasley) will suit up later today against the Celtics, which will give fans (and the front office) another 48 minutes to see what exactly this team is building for the 2021-22 season.

As of now, there have been no indications publicly or privately that the Wolves will sit anyone in their final game of the season on Sunday, but if they do, Saturday will give fans the last opportunity to see this team live before they head off for summer vacation.

On the Boston side of things, their injury report is pretty wild. Jaylen Brown is out for the year after suffering a torn ligament in his wrist, and while he is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for the start of next season, his absence will put a ton of pressure on 23-year old Jayson Tatum to carry the Celtics when the postseason begins. Besides Brown, the Celtics will also be without Marcus Smart, Tristan Thompson, Kemba Walker, and Robert Williams, which means we should see a large dose of Boston’s two rookies (Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith).

Have a great Saturday, enjoy some matinee basketball, and Go Wolves.