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Gordon Hayward, Celtics hold off Timberwolves 127-117

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Boston's defense looked, well, like it was still on vacation for much of the game.

The Celtics still had plenty of firepower on the other end, staying strong out of the All-Star break.

Gordon Hayward scored 29 points, Daniel Theis had career highs with 25 points and 16 rebounds and the Celtics fended off the Minnesota Timberwolves 127-117 on Friday night.

“The strength of our team is just the amount of guys that can go off at any point in time, especially when you’re making the right plays and getting easy looks,” Hayward said. "We’re too talented. We just need to continue to do that.”

Jalen Brown scored 25 points and Jayson Tatum had 28 points and 11 rebounds as fellow All-Star Kemba Walker sat out because of a minor knee injury. The four players at 25 or more points marked just the second such occurrence in Celtics history. Tom Heinsohn, Bill Russell, Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman did it on Jan. 20, 1960.

“It just shows how deep and how good our team is,” Theis said.

Marcus Smart had 10 points and a season-high 10 assists as the primary point guard in Walker's place, helping the Celtics win for the ninth time in last 10 games on the first stop of a four-game road trip. They're 1 1/2 games behind defending NBA champion Toronto for second place in the suddenly stacked Eastern Conference.

Though the Celtics have allowed the third-lowest opponent scoring average in the league, the short-handed Timberwolves did plenty of damage with the ball despite taking their 16th loss in 17 games. Malik Beasley scored 27 points, D'Angelo Russell had 18 points and a season-high 13 assists, and Juancho Hernangomez added a season-high 17 points.

Rookie Naz Reid had 19 points and nine rebounds in 33 minutes, starting for the injured Karl-Anthony Towns. Reid got Theis benched just two minutes into the game for an uncontested layup. The Wolves equaled every bit of energy from the Celtics, even if the talent levels didn't match.

“At the end, everybody knows I don’t care about the scoring. I care about the defensive part. We’ve still got to get better on defense. We gave up a lot of stuff,” Theis said.

Beasley, who had 16 points in the second quarter, pulled up for a 28-footer at the halftime horn to bring the Wolves within 61-53 right after Tatum had blown by them for a dunk on the other end.

Hayward had 15 points in the third quarter for the Celtics, who ran their lead up to 68-55 before the Wolves again motored back. Beasley took a no-look backward bounce pass from Russell on a fast break for a layup that cut the lead to 72-67. Reid's 3-pointer then brought the Wolves within two.

Rookie point guard Jordan McLaughlin, who's on a two-way contract for Minnesota, made all three of his 3-point attempts, the last one that cut the lead to 100-98. The crowd was alive as the Wolves twice came within one point after that, only to fail to take back the lead they hadn't had since midway through the first quarter.

After Theis muscled inside for a layup and Russell missed from deep, Tatum swished a 3-pointer to give the Celtics a 119-11 edge with 3:55 to go.

“When you play a team like Boston, the way they approach this season, the way they're kind of navigating this season, you know you have to be pretty much close to perfect to come out with a victory,” Wolves coach Ryan Saunders said. "We weren't that tonight."

BOARD REPORT

With Reid and James Johnson trying to man the paint, the Wolves were outrebounded 58-43. In the aftermath of their roster-rattling trades two weeks ago and the injury to Towns, they're particularly thin in the frontcourt.

“They were very tough with the guards, their height, Tatum and Brown crashing in, and then the bigs going at it,” Reid said. “It’s kind of hard to check out all of those guys. But I attempted to, and things didn’t go our way."

TAKING CARE OF KEMBA

Walker was held out by left knee trouble, but his absence is not expected to be long-term. He had the joint drained and injected to address swelling and soreness that arose after the All-Star game. Walker will be re-evaluated on the next stop on the road trip, Los Angeles.

Walker, in his first season with Boston, played 46 minutes in the last game before the break. He also logged 29 minutes in the All-Star game itself, but the Celtics said his his injury was unrelated to the midseason showcase Sunday.

TIP-INS

Celtics: Backup center Robert Williams who missed his 34th straight game with a left hip injury that has kept him out for 2 1/2 months, resumed practicing after the All-Star break. He joined with the team on this trip and is on track to rejoin the rotation next week upon return to Boston, subject to final medical clearance.

Timberwolves: With Towns sidelined, Reid had his first career start. The popular undrafted rookie even heard some stray “MVP!” chants during a fourth-quarter trip to the line.

UP NEXT

Celtics: Play at the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. Boston won the first matchup 139-107 at home on Jan. 20.

Timberwolves: Play at the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night to start a four-game, six-day trip.

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1st Quarter

Time Team Play Score
12:00   Jumpball  
11:43   D'Angelo Russell missed jump shot  
11:41   Offensive rebound by Naz Reid  
11:40   Naz Reid missed layup, blocked by Jayson Tatum  
11:37   Offensive rebound by Naz Reid  
11:36 +2 Naz Reid made dunk 0-2
11:19   Daniel Theis missed hook shot  
11:17   Defensive rebound by Juancho Hernangomez  
11:07 +2 Naz Reid made driving layup 0-4
10:43   Daniel Theis missed jump shot  
10:40   Offensive rebound by Jayson Tatum  
10:36   Marcus Smart missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:33   Defensive rebound by Malik Beasley  
10:19   Juancho Hernangomez missed driving layup  
10:17   Defensive rebound by Daniel Theis  
10:11 +2 Jaylen Brown made jump shot 2-4
9:59   Malik Beasley missed jump shot  
9:57   Defensive rebound by Jayson Tatum  
9:49 +2 Jayson Tatum made driving layup 4-4
9:37   Naz Reid missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:36   BOS team rebound  
9:21   Shooting foul on Juancho Hernangomez  
9:21 +1 Jayson Tatum made 1st of 2 free throws 5-4
9:21 +1 Jayson Tatum made 2nd of 2 free throws 6-4
9:11   Shooting foul on Gordon Hayward  
9:11 +1 D'Angelo Russell made 1st of 2 free throws 6-5
9:11   D'Angelo Russell missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
9:09   Defensive rebound by Jayson Tatum  
8:59   Marcus Smart missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:57   Offensive rebound by Enes Kanter  
8:56   Enes Kanter missed layup, blocked by Juancho Hernangomez  
8:54   Defensive rebound by Naz Reid  
8:45   Naz Reid missed layup  
8:43   Defensive rebound by Enes Kanter  
8:29 +3 Jayson Tatum made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Marcus Smart 9-5
8:06   Malik Beasley missed driving layup  
8:04   Defensive rebound by Enes Kanter  
7:50   Jaylen Brown missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:47   Defensive rebound by Naz Reid  
7:39 +2 D'Angelo Russell made jump shot 9-7
7:17   Jayson Tatum missed jump shot  
7:14   Defensive rebound by D'Angelo Russell  
7:05 +3 Juancho Hernangomez made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by D'Angelo Russell 9-10
6:49 +3 Marcus Smart made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Gordon Hayward 12-10
6:37 +2 D'Angelo Russell made jump shot 12-12
6:17   Marcus Smart missed jump shot  
6:15   Defensive rebound by Josh Okogie  
6:01 +3 D'Angelo Russell made 3-pt. jump shot 12-15
5:42 +2 Gordon Hayward made jump shot 14-15
5:26   Naz Reid missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:24   Defensive rebound by Gordon Hayward  
5:17   3-second violation turnover on Enes Kanter  
5:17   Full timeout called  
5:02   D'Angelo Russell missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:00   Defensive rebound by Enes Kanter  
4:47 +2 Gordon Hayward made jump shot 16-15
4:34   Bad pass turnover on D'Angelo Russell, stolen by Jaylen Brown  
4:25   Enes Kanter missed layup  
4:22   Defensive rebound by Josh Okogie  
4:14   D'Angelo Russell missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:10   Defensive rebound by Marcus Smart  
4:08 +2 Jaylen Brown made driving layup, assist by Marcus Smart 18-15
4:08   Shooting foul on Josh Okogie  
4:08   Jaylen Brown missed free throw  
4:05   Defensive rebound by Juancho Hernangomez  
3:58   James Johnson missed driving layup, blocked by Grant Williams  
3:56   Defensive rebound by Daniel Theis  
3:52 +2 Daniel Theis made dunk, assist by Marcus Smart 20-15
3:26   Jarrett Culver missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:25   MIN team rebound  
3:25   24-second shot clock violation turnover  
3:15   Grant Williams missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:11   Defensive rebound by D'Angelo Russell  
3:07   Personal foul on Daniel Theis  
2:53 +2 D'Angelo Russell made driving layup 20-17
2:39   Gordon Hayward missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:36   Defensive rebound by James Johnson  
2:29   Allen Crabbe missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:26   Defensive rebound by Daniel Theis  
2:19 +2 Daniel Theis made dunk, assist by Marcus Smart 22-17
2:07 +3 James Johnson made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by D'Angelo Russell 22-20
1:59   Full timeout called  
1:52   Bad pass turnover on Daniel Theis, stolen by James Johnson  
1:43   Bad pass turnover on Kelan Martin, stolen by Gordon Hayward  
1:40   Marcus Smart missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:40   Defensive rebound by Jarrett Culver  
1:27   Jarrett Culver missed layup, blocked by Marcus Smart  
1:27   Defensive rebound by Grant Williams  
1:21 +2 Gordon Hayward made jump shot 24-20
1:08   Kelan Martin missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:05   Defensive rebound by Daniel Theis  
0:51   Grant Williams missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:49   Defensive rebound by James Johnson  
0:43   Personal foul on Marcus Smart  
0:33   Out of bounds turnover on D'Angelo Russell  
0:31   Personal foul on James Johnson  
0:26   Gordon Hayward missed layup  
0:24   Defensive rebound by D'Angelo Russell  
0:09   James Johnson missed layup  
0:07   Defensive rebound by Daniel Theis  
0:00   Jayson Tatum missed 3-pt. turnaround jump shot  
0:03   Jayson Tatum missed 3-pt. jump shot, blocked by Kelan Martin  
0:00   BOS team rebound  

2nd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:49   Shooting foul on Kelan Martin  
11:49 +1 Jayson Tatum made 1st of 2 free throws 25-20
11:49 +1 Jayson Tatum made 2nd of 2 free throws 26-20
11:36   Jarrett Culver missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:33   Defensive rebound by Enes Kanter  
11:28   Personal foul on Jordan McLaughlin  
11:21   Jayson Tatum missed driving layup  
11:18   Offensive rebound by Enes Kanter  
11:18   Enes Kanter missed layup, blocked by Jordan McLaughlin  
11:15   Defensive rebound by Jordan McLaughlin  
11:12   Kelan Martin missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:08   Defensive rebound by Semi Ojeleye  
11:00 +2 Brad Wanamaker made floating jump shot 28-20
10:44   Kelan Martin missed driving layup  
10:42   Defensive rebound by Jayson Tatum  
10:37   Jayson Tatum missed finger-roll layup  
10:33   Offensive rebound by Enes Kanter  
10:33   Enes Kanter missed dunk  
10:33   Defensive rebound by Malik Beasley  
10:25   Naz Reid missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:22   Defensive rebound by Romeo Langford  
10:03   Brad Wanamaker missed jump shot  
10:02   Offensive rebound by Brad Wanamaker  
10:02   Shooting foul on Jordan McLaughlin  
10:02 +1 Brad Wanamaker made 1st of 2 free throws 29-20
10:02 +1 Brad Wanamaker made 2nd of 2 free throws 30-20
9:54   Lost ball turnover on Malik Beasley, stolen by Brad Wanamaker  
9:49   Brad Wanamaker missed layup  
9:47   Defensive rebound by Jordan McLaughlin  
9:46 +2 Malik Beasley made driving layup, assist by Jordan McLaughlin 30-22
9:46   Shooting foul on Romeo Langford  
9:46 +1 Malik Beasley made free throw 30-23
9:30 +2 Jayson Tatum made jump shot 32-23
9:12 +2 Naz Reid made hook shot, assist by Jordan McLaughlin 32-25
8:46 +3 Jayson Tatum made 3-pt. jump shot 35-25
8:29 +3 Malik Beasley made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Kelan Martin 35-28
8:13   Brad Wanamaker missed layup  
8:13   MIN team rebound  
8:13   Personal foul on Enes Kanter  
8:04   Personal foul on Daniel Theis  
8:04   Violation  
7:51   Malik Beasley missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:47   Defensive rebound by Daniel Theis  
7:36   Romeo Langford missed driving layup  
7:31   Defensive rebound by Naz Reid  
7:19   Jordan McLaughlin missed floating jump shot  
7:15   Defensive rebound by Jayson Tatum  
7:12   Lost ball turnover on Jayson Tatum, stolen by Jordan McLaughlin  
7:07 +2 Josh Okogie made alley-oop shot, assist by Jordan McLaughlin 35-30
6:54   Personal foul on James Johnson  
6:54   Full timeout called  
6:47 +2 Jaylen Brown made finger-roll layup 37-30
6:31   Malik Beasley missed jump shot  
6:29   Defensive rebound by Marcus Smart  
6:20   Jaylen Brown missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:17   Defensive rebound by Malik Beasley  
6:13 +2 Malik Beasley made floating jump shot 37-32
5:51   Marcus Smart missed jump shot  
5:49   Defensive rebound by Naz Reid  
5:38   James Johnson missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:35   Defensive rebound by Gordon Hayward  
5:23 +2 Daniel Theis made layup, assist by Gordon Hayward 39-32
5:15 +2 Josh Okogie made alley-oop shot, assist by D'Angelo Russell 39-34
5:06   Personal foul on Josh Okogie  
5:06 +1 Brad Wanamaker made 1st of 2 free throws 40-34
5:06 +1 Brad Wanamaker made 2nd of 2 free throws 41-34
4:54   D'Angelo Russell missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:52   Defensive rebound by Daniel Theis  
4:47 +3 Jaylen Brown made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Marcus Smart 44-34
4:30   Jarrett Culver missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:30   Defensive rebound by Marcus Smart  
4:20 +2 Jaylen Brown made jump shot, assist by Marcus Smart 46-34
4:20   Full timeout called  
4:07 +3 Malik Beasley made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by James Johnson 46-37
3:49   Marcus Smart missed floating jump shot  
3:48   Offensive rebound by Daniel Theis  
3:48   Shooting foul on James Johnson  
3:48 +1 Daniel Theis made 1st of 2 free throws 47-37
3:48 +1 Daniel Theis made 2nd of 2 free throws 48-37
3:36   Personal foul on Jaylen Brown  
3:30   Shooting foul on Jayson Tatum  
3:30 +1 D'Angelo Russell made 1st of 2 free throws 48-38
3:30 +1 D'Angelo Russell made 2nd of 2 free throws 48-39
3:19   Shooting foul on Malik Beasley  
3:19   Gordon Hayward missed 1st of 2 free throws  
3:19   BOS team rebound  
3:19 +1 Gordon Hayward made 2nd of 2 free throws 49-39
3:07   D'Angelo Russell missed jump shot  
3:05   Offensive rebound by Naz Reid  
3:06   Shooting foul on Daniel Theis  
3:06   Naz Reid missed 1st of 2 free throws  
3:06   MIN team rebound  
3:06 +1 Naz Reid made 2nd of 2 free throws 49-40
2:57 +2 Marcus Smart made jump shot 51-40
2:40   Naz Reid missed floating jump shot  
2:38   Defensive rebound by Jaylen Brown  
2:21   Jaylen Brown missed jump shot, blocked by Malik Beasley  
2:19   Defensive rebound by Jarrett Culver  
2:13 +2 Malik Beasley made floating jump shot, assist by D'Angelo Russell 51-42
1:54 +2 Gordon Hayward made turnaround jump shot 53-42
1:35 +3 Juancho Hernangomez made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jarrett Culver 53-45
1:16 +2 Marcus Smart made floating jump shot 55-45
0:59   Lost ball turnover on D'Angelo Russell, stolen by Jayson Tatum  
0:56 +2 Jayson Tatum made driving dunk, assist by Gordon Hayward 57-45
0:46 +2 Jarrett Culver made driving dunk 57-47
0:31   Marcus Smart missed turnaround jump shot  
0:30   Offensive rebound by Vincent Poirier  
0:30 +2 Vincent Poirier made dunk 59-47
0:21 +3 Juancho Hernangomez made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by D'Angelo Russell 59-50
0:03 +2 Jayson Tatum made driving dunk 61-50
0:00 +3 Malik Beasley made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by D'Angelo Russell 61-53
0:00   End of period  

3rd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:44 +2 Gordon Hayward made layup 63-53
11:27 +2 D'Angelo Russell made floating jump shot 63-55
11:09   Daniel Theis missed jump shot  
11:03   Defensive rebound by Josh Okogie  
10:59   D'Angelo Russell missed layup  
10:59   Offensive rebound by Juancho Hernangomez  
10:56   Juancho Hernangomez missed dunk  
10:56   Offensive rebound by Juancho Hernangomez  
10:56   Juancho Hernangomez missed dunk  
10:56   Offensive rebound by Juancho Hernangomez  
10:56   Shooting foul on Jaylen Brown  
10:56   Juancho Hernangomez missed 1st of 2 free throws  
10:56   MIN team rebound  
10:56   Juancho Hernangomez missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
10:54   Defensive rebound by Jayson Tatum  
10:38   Lost ball turnover on Daniel Theis, stolen by Naz Reid  
10:31   D'Angelo Russell missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:28   Defensive rebound by Gordon Hayward  
10:21   Jaylen Brown missed turnaround jump shot  
10:18   Offensive rebound by Daniel Theis  
10:18 +2 Daniel Theis made dunk 65-55
10:01   Juancho Hernangomez missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:59   Defensive rebound by Jaylen Brown  
9:49 +3 Daniel Theis made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jayson Tatum 68-55
9:48   Full timeout called  
9:35 +3 Juancho Hernangomez made 3-pt. jump shot 68-58
9:21 +2 Jaylen Brown made driving layup, assist by Jayson Tatum 70-58
8:56 +2 Juancho Hernangomez made layup, assist by D'Angelo Russell 70-60
8:47   Bad pass turnover on Marcus Smart, stolen by Josh Okogie  
8:32 +3