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Jaylen Nowell’s career game leads Wolves past Celtics

Dec 27, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Malik Beasley (5) drives to the basket as Boston Celtics guard Payton Pritchard (11) defends during the second quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

Jaylen Nowell scored a career-high 29 points off the bench to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 108-103 win over the Boston Celtics on Monday night in Minneapolis.

Nathan Knight added career bests with 20 points and 11 rebounds while Jaden McDaniels scored 17 for the Timberwolves, who snapped a two-game skid.

Jaylen Brown led Boston with 26 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Payton Pritchard finished with 24 points, Al Horford had 16 and Grant Williams scored 15 for the Celtics, who lost their second straight game.

The Timberwolves opened the fourth quarter on a 14-2 run to go ahead 88-81 with 8:12 to go. Nowell had a 3-pointer and a driving dunk during the run, which transformed a five-point deficit into a seven-point lead.

A 3-pointer by Horford brought Boston within 88-84 with 7:17 remaining, but less than a minute later, Nowell hit another 3-pointer to make it 91-84.

Minnesota held off a late comeback effort from Boston. McDaniels gave the Timberwolves extra breathing room with a 3-pointer that made it 100-90 with 3:36 left.

The Celtics led 79-74 at the end of the third quarter. Boston led by as many as 12 points early in the period, but Minnesota closed the quarter on a 9-3 run.

McDaniels converted a three-point play in the final minute of the third quarter to narrow the gap.

Boston led 56-45 at halftime.

The Celtics closed the first half on a 13-0 run to take a double-digit lead. Pritchard drained two 3-pointers during the run, and Brown added one more.

Both teams played without multiple starters and key contributors.

The Celtics did not have star forward Jayson Tatum, who was placed in the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Also in the protocols were Josh Richardson, Justin Jackson, Dennis Schroder, C.J. Miles, Bruno Fernando, Aaron Nesmith and Enes Freedom. Marcus Smart did not play because of a hand injury.

Minnesota remained without its top three scorers: Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell. The three are in health and safety protocols, as are teammates Jarred Vanderbilt, Naz Reid, Taurean Prince and McKinley Wright IV.

–Field Level Media

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