Celtics beat Timberwolves 101-97; improve to 12-14 on the season and stay in 1st place

The Celtics beat the Timberwolves 101-97 on Monday night at the Garden, behind Jared Sullinger (24 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists), Avery Bradley (19 points, 5 boards), and Jordan Crawford (15 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists). Kevin Love had 27 points and 13 rebounds for the Wolves in a losing effort.

The Celtics started fast and led 29-21 after one quarter. The Cs took advantage of terrible shooting by the TWolves starters, and a red hot Bradley (10 points in the 1st) to go up by as many as nine early on.

However, Minnesota got back into it, thanks in part to a 19-9 free throw disparity in the 1st half. Love was only 3-10 in the 1st half, but still managed to go for 11 points and 7 boards. The Wolves also rebounded the crap out of the ball, which can hardly be seen as a surprise when you consider the size difference between their front court and the Celtics'.

After a hot start by Nikola Pekovic put the Wolves up six early in the 2nd half, Bradley again caught fire for the Celtics, who went on a 15-3 run to retake the lead. Bradley continues to play the best basketball of his career over the past few weeks, as he has averaged 16 PPG on 50% shooting (and 55% from three!) in his last ten games.

The Celtics maintained the lead early in the 4th, with Kelly Olynyk twice extending possessions by saving balls out of bounds. Those two extra trips led to five huge points for Boston, and was a living example of just how hard this team is playing right now.

Sullinger was huge down the stretch for the Celts, including a tie-breaking three with just over two minutes to go in the game. Sully had 15 of his 24 points in the final 12 minutes, helping the Celtics close this one out.

And for anyone who watched CelticsLife Live earlier tonight - I said earlier this season that if the Celtics were 12-14 (or better) after 26 games (our prediction for when Rajon Rondo would return), I would eat my computer. Tonight's win of course improved them to 12-14. Now I need to figure out how the hell to eat my MacBook. Going to be terrible.

Next victim for the Celtics: The Pistons, Wednesday night at the Garden.

Follow Mike on twitter - Mike_Dyer13

For more of my articles, click here