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Jan 10, 2024 8:34 am

Top teams square off as Celtics host Timberwolves

The teams with the best records in the NBA will meet Wednesday night when the Minnesota Timberwolves visit the Boston Celtics.

Boston, which has the best record in the league at 28-8, is coming off a controversial 133-131 loss to Indiana on Monday. Boston’s Jaylen Brown appeared to be hit on the head during a shot that could have broken a 131-131 tie with 3.2 seconds to play. A foul was called on Buddy Hield, but the Pacers challenged the call, and it was overturned.

Indiana’s Bennedict Mathurin made two free throws on the ensuing possession, and the Pacers held on for the victory.

“I feel like we have the right to be upset,” Brown said. “The league should understand. Of course we’re going to say something about it after the game. So I don’t think there should be any fines. But I definitely think that one should be investigated.”

Brown scored a season-high 40 points in the loss.

The Timberwolves (26-10), who have the second-best record in the league and the best mark in the Western Conference, will play their second game in as many nights. Minnesota led wire-to-wire in a 113-92 victory at Orlando on Tuesday.

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 28 points and Rudy Gobert finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Timberwolves.

“I’m a big believer that when the ball moves, guys shoot better for sure,” coach Chris Finch said. “And that’s what you saw (against Orlando). We have a good shooting team. We have some streaky guys, but those guys tend to shoot better when the ball moves. Again, I think it’s taking what the game is giving us. Good to see them go in, but I think it’s a result of the guys willing to make the next play for each other.”

The Timberwolves limited the Magic to 36.2 percent shooting from the field (34 of 94). Orlando scored only 37 points in the first half.

“We really wanted to come in and set the tone defensively,” Gobert said. “Offensively, move the ball and be aggressive. I thought we did a great job for the most part of the game.

“It’s a big game (against the Celtics). It’s a great opportunity for us to test ourselves against a very good team.”

Wednesday will be the second meeting between the Celtics and Timberwolves this season. Anthony Edwards scored 38 points to help Minnesota earn a 114-109 overtime victory at home on Nov. 6. Jayson Tatum, who didn’t play in Monday’s loss (ankle), led Boston with 32 points.

Jrue Holiday had 12 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in the first meeting with Minnesota. Boston’s Kristaps Porzingis said no one on the Celtics sacrifices scoring for the good of the team more than Holiday, who is averaging 13.1 points per game this season.

“I’m not mad at the sacrifices that I have to make because even though I might be making the biggest one, as KP says, everybody makes them,” Holiday said. “…You have Derrick White, who’s playing at an all-star level. You have Al (Horford), who I feel like has sacrificed just as much as I have, so it just keeps on going down the line of people sacrificing. I feel like it’s being noticed, and that’s why our record is 28-8.”

–Field Level Media

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