National Basketball Association
Preview
Boston at Minnesota
When: 8:00 PM ET, Friday, February 21, 2020
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Boston Celtics streaked into the All-Star break with wins in 11 of their final 13 games and hope to carry the momentum out of the intermission when they begin a four-game road trip at the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday. A dramatic double-overtime win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Feb. 12 sent the Celtics into the break with loads of momentum and owners of the fourth-best record in the NBA.

Jayson Tatum scored 39 points in the win before making his first appearance in the All-Star Game, and the 21-year-old has been carrying Boston during its surge as he cements himself as the franchise cornerstone. "You feel the energy, the atmosphere, the fans are the best and it's not like that in every city we go to," Tatum recently said while sitting down with Celtics legend Tom Heinsohn. "We truly have the best fans and it really is a sense of pride putting that jersey on every night. ... I couldn't be happier being here." Tatum is averaging 28.3 points in seven February games but has been held to an avearge of 10.8 in four career games versus the Timberwolves, the lowest mark he has against any team. Minnesota lost 15 of 16 entering the break and announced Wednesday that star center Karl-Anthony Towns would be out indefinitely with a wrist injury.

TIME: 8 p.m. ET. TV: NBCS Boston, FS North

ABOUT THE CELTICS (38-16): While Tatum and guard Kemba Walker enjoyed the All-Star Game festivities, Jaylen Brown - the third member of the team's three 20-point scorers - enjoyed some time away and appears ready for a solid stretch run. "It's all basketball from this point on," he told reporters Wednesday. ". ... I'm looking to turn it up these next eight, nine weeks going into the playoffs." Boston may soon get a boost from the return of athletic second-year center Robert Williams III, who has been sidelined for over two months with a hip injury but has returned to practice.

ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (16-37):
Towns, who is averaging a career-high 26.5 points and 10.8 rebounds, sat out the final game before the break with the injury and coach Ryan Saunders told reporters Wednesday that the star center is "still being evaluated." Towns, who also missed 15 games earlier in the season with a knee injury, only played one game alongside newly acquired guard D'Angelo Russell before the wrist ailment popped up. Juan Hernangomez had 16 points and 12 rebounds with Towns sitting against Charlotte on Feb. 12 and figures to continue to see an increase in playing time along with rookie Naz Reid, who scored in double figures off the bench in three of his last four games.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Russell is averaging 24 points and eight assists in his first two games with the Timberwolves.

2. Celtics SF Gordon Hayward averaged 20.2 points and nine rebounds in his final five games before the break.

3. Boston has won six straight meetings.

PREDICTION: Celtics 118, Timberwolves 109
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Boston 38-16 W1 23-5 15-11 6-3 32-13 7-5 25-9
Minnesota 16-37 L2 7-20 9-17 0-5 16-32 2-9 8-25
Last Meeting
Boston Minnesota
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
1/2/19 MIN 102 BOS 115 115 33 59.2 102 34 47.6
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Boston G. Hayward 35 77.8 3
Minnesota A. Wiggins 31 55.6 9
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Boston J. Brown 5 0 5
Minnesota K. Towns 12 4 8
Assists Player  
Boston M. Smart 8
Minnesota T. Jones 9
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Boston J. Tatum 1160 44.2 180
Minnesota K. Towns 1003 51.0 194
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Boston J. Tatum 365 52 313
Minnesota K. Towns 405 100 305
Assists Player  
Boston K. Walker 234
Minnesota K. Towns 169
Quickchart Matchup
Boston Boston Off vs  Minnesota Minnesota Defense
Boston Off vs Minnesota - Points For 113.1 Points For
Boston Off vs Minnesota - Points Against 115.9 Points Against
Boston - FG% 46.3 FG%
Minnesota - FG% 46.9 FG%
Boston - Reb 45.7 Reb
Minnesota - Reb 47.4 Reb
Minnesota Minnesota Off vs  Boston Boston Defense
Minnesota Off vs Boston - Points For 112.4 Points For
Minnesota Off vs Boston - Points Against 106.2 Points Against
Minnesota - FG% 43.7 FG%
Boston - FG% 44.1 FG%
Minnesota - Reb 45.6 Reb
Boston - Reb 44.0 Reb