MINNEAPOLIS — You know there had to be at least a few hundred Celtics fans at the Target Center on Monday night who thought this was all some really cruel April Fool's joke.
No Rajon Rondo because of an injury.
No Kevin Garnett because of an injury, but not as serious as Rondo's season-ending torn right ACL.
And no Paul Pierce who was not with the team while attending to a personal matter.
No, this was no prank as the Celtics were as star-deficient as they have been all season.
And it showed most of the game as Minnesota (27-46) handed the Celtics a 110-100 defeat.
Boston (38-36) has now lost two in a row and seven of their last nine games.
For the Timberwolves, it snapped an 11-game losing streak to the C's with Boston's last loss to Minnesota coming on Feb. 11, 2007 on the Target Center floor.
After a floater in the lane by Jason Terry cut Minnesota's lead to 87-82 in the fourth, the Timberwolves scored nine straight to regain control of the game with their lead never in doubt afterward.
The first quarter got off to a nice start for Boston which opened with a 9-4 run. But the Timberwolves countered by taking advantage of the Celtics' biggest weakness these days - shoddy interior defense.
Minnesota center Nikola Pekovic was a dominate, overpowering force for the Timberwolves as he scored 21 of his game-high 29 points in the first half to lift the T-Wolves to a 57-52 lead.
Boston might have been without their best players, but those still around put up a good fight in the first half.
And it was Avery Bradley leading the charge, as he scored 15 of his 19 points in the first half. Boston also got a good but not great half from Jeff Green who had six points and six rebounds at the half. He finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Considering how they failed to limit Pekovic's scoring which was primarily within a few feet of the rim, the Celtics had to feel as though the five-point deficit at the half could have been worse - a lot worse.
A sluggish start by the Celtics to start the third quarter put them back in a double-digit hole, in less than a minute in.
But the Celtics as they have done most of this season, were able to get the deficit under double digits following a floater by Terry in the lane that made it a 84-78 game going into the fourth quarter after having trailed by as many as 14 in the third. Terry had 14 points off the bench for the C's.
Undermanned Celtics fall to Timberwolves
April 1, 2013, 10:15 pm