BOSTON — Down the stretch of Boston's game against Minnesota, the undersized, 3-point shooting big man took over - and his name wasn't Kevin Love.
It was Celtics big man Jared Sullinger whose inside-out play in the most pivotal moments on Monday night's 101-97 win, swung the game's momentum - and its outcome - in Boston's favor.
Sullinger led all Celtics with 23 points to go with 11 rebounds.
After the score was tied at 92, Sullinger scored seven of the Celtics' final nine points for the win.
"He has got a nice touch," said Love who led all players with 27 points and 14 rebounds. "Tonight he played well."
Especially when the game mattered most.
"He (Sullinger) did take it up a notch at the end," Stevens said. "He's a scorer. He's always been a scorer. He's been a scorer as long as I've known him. So it doesn't surprise me when he scores and makes plays."
It was indeed a good win for the Celtics, but far from a perfect game.
And with that, here's the Good, the Bad and the Ugly following Boston's victory over the Timberwolves.
For one night, Kevin Love was not the best big man on the floor. That title belonged to Sullinger who scored seven of his team-high 23 points in the final 2:22 of the game.
"He was phenomenal," said Boston's Kelly Olynyk. "Down the stretch especially, he hit a huge three, free throws to seal the game , and a couple big rebounds; not much more you can ask from a guy."
One night he may play a big role, the next he may not play at all. Regardless, Humphries seems to be play well whenever his number is called. He came off the bench to score eight points and grab seven rebounds.
"Humphries did a phenomenal job off the bench for us on both ends of the floor," said Boston head coach Brad Stevens. "But certainly in guarding and defending Kevin Love."
Lost in the hoopla surrounding Jared Sullinger's coming through down the stretch, was the play of Avery Bradley in the third quarter which kept the game from getting away from the Celtics. The Celtics fell behind by as many as six points in the third quarter, only for Bradley to help lead a comeback that resulted in Boston going into the fourth with a five-point lead. He finished with 19 points, nine of which came in the third quarter.
While Boston's second unit looked solid in getting 35 points from its reserves, the Timberwolves' second unit chipped in 45 of their points. And if it wasn't for Dante Cunningham (12 points, 5-for-6 shooting) suffering an injury in the second half, there's a good chance Minnesota would have gotten even more production from its backups.
Nothing to see here
Boston made its mistakes, but there were no glaringly painful moments or stretches for them. And in the areas where the Timberwolves were supposed to really hurt them, second chance points and points in the paint, Boston held their own. In fact, the Celtics were plus-4 (27-23) on second chance points and just minus-2 (40-38) on points in the paint.