C's fall to 1-6 in preseason after loss to T'Wolves

C's fall to 1-6 in preseason after loss to T'Wolves
October 20, 2013, 8:30 pm
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MONTREAL — The player rotations. The overall effort and execution.

It was about as close as we've seen to what the Boston Celtics will look like in the regular season.

Unfortunately a better overall performance by the Celtics was not enough to come away with a win as the Minnesota Timberwolves pulled away in the second half for a 104-89 victory.

Minnesota was led by a slimmed down Kevin Love whose still putting up pretty fat numbers for the Timberwolves. He finished with a game-high 22 points and nine rebounds.

Free throws by Boston's Jeff Green early in the third brought the Celtics within 57-56, but Minnesota countered with a five-point spurt to lead 62-56. The Timberwolves continued to assume control of the game as they surged ahead and away in the fourth quarter in which they led by as many as 22 points.

Like so many of the Celtics' preseason games, there were positive signs for the Celtics going forward.

Jeff Green utilized his speed to hurt Minnesota in transition, which set up his perimeter game. He even spent some time guarding Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio as he scored 12 points in 24 minutes off the bench.

The man replacing him in the starting lineup, Gerald Wallace, continues to become a fan favorite with his high-energy, all-out effort. Wallace finished with 16 points in 26 minutes.

But as Stevens has pointed out repeatedly in the preseason, the Celtics have a lot of work to do.

While it appears as though Stevens will go fairly deep (at least 10) early on, figuring out the most effective combinations indeed remains a work in progress that will be modified on a game-by-game basis.

Stevens doesn't have much of a choice but to play lots of players considering very few have done enough in camp to separate themselves from their peers. So the 11th man today for the Celtics may very well be starting in a week or two. And that should keep all of the Celtics playing with a certain edge, knowing their playing time could easily be taken away at any time.

But as we saw on Sunday, an increased sense of urgency and better overall play doesn't necessarily translate into a victory.

Minnesota was just too good at too many positions for Boston to get past them. And sadly, the Celtics are likely to have many more nights like this during the regular season when this will in fact be their fate.

"The results aren't what we want, but I like where we're headed," Stevens said of the Celtics' preseason woes.

But that was never the goal to begin with.

"This preseason isn't about the results," Stevens said. "It's about moving forward.