Boston, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Jared Sullinger netted 24 points and had 11 rebounds to lead the Boston Celtics to a 101-97 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
"He's a scorer. He's always been a scorer. He's been a scorer as long as I've known him. It never surprises me when scorers make plays," Boston head coach Brad Stevens said of Sullinger.
Avery Bradley had 19 points and Jordan Crawford added 15 points for the Celtics, who will face the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.
Kevin Love poured in a game-high 27 points and had 14 rebounds, Nikola Pekovic scored 13 and Dante Cunningham had 12 points for Minnesota, which will host the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday. Alexey Shved added 10 and J.J. Barea had 10 points and 11 assists.
"We had every chance to win that game; couldn't make a layup, couldn't make a shot, for our starters it really was a struggle. We just missed too many opportunities that were right there for us," Wolves head coach Rick Adelman said.
A Luc Mbah a Moute layup 5:45 into the final quarter tied the game, 84-84. There were two more ties and four lead changes until a Sullinger 3-pointer put Boston up by three, 95-92.
Pekovic made a layup 1:16 later and got Minnesota within one but that was as close as they would come the rest of the game as they fouled the Celtics to the finish.
The third quarter was back and forth with neither team leading by more than seven points.
The Celtics tied the game, 59-59, with 6:39 left in the third quarter. A Kris Humphries layup 2:17 later gave Boston the lead back and they took a 74-69 advantage into the fourth.
Minnesota sparked a 10-4 run with 6:31 left in the second quarter. The run brought the T'wolves within one point after a Barea 3-pointer with 4:09 left in the half.
In the last 3:02 of the half there were four lead changes and three ties before the Celtics took a one point advantage at the half, 51-50.
The Celtics jumped right out the gate with an 8-2 run early on. Minnesota traded baskets for the rest of the first quarter. The Timberwolves came within three points but ended the first down eight, 29-21.
The Celtics had won 12 straight against Minnesota prior to dropping the last two meetings ... Boston shot 7-of-21 and Minnesota shot 8-of-29 from the arc ... Mbah a Moute scored nine and had six rebounds for Minnesota and Pekovic added seven rebounds.