The Boston Celtics suffered a tough overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night, their first loss of the NBA’s 2023-24 season, raising some questions about the team’s performance vs. better teams.
Despite a strong effort from All-NBA Boston forward Jayson Tatum in the first half, the Celtics struggled with turnovers and lacked execution in overtime. Anthony Edwards of the Timberwolves stole the show with his impressive performance, leading his team to a statement win with 38 points. The Celtics’ reliance on isolation plays and lack of bench scoring were also areas of concern, and the team’s shooting percentages dropped, with their offense primarily coming from one-on-one battles. The Celtics’ thin bench and absence of key players further hindered their performance.
How worried should Celtics fans be about the loss? The hosts of the CLNS Media “Garden Report” podcast weigh in below.
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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire
Celtics-Wolves takeaways: Edwards stars as C’s suffer first loss in OT
Justin Leger Tue, Nov 7, 2023, 8:18 PM GMT+7·4 min read 12
Celtics-Wolves takeaways: Edwards stars as C’s suffer first loss in OT originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Three Key Storylines
Best defense > best offense
Rough night for C’s supporting cast
Anthony Edwards is a problem
The Minnesota Timberwolves handed the Boston Celtics their first loss of the season in an overtime thriller Monday night at Target Center.
Boston entered the fourth quarter trailing by five points and, thanks to some clutch shots from stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, fought to force OT. Unfortunately for the C’s, that was Anthony Edwards’ time to shine.
Edwards propelled Minnesota to a 114-109 victory with eight points in the extra period. He finished with a game-high 38 points despite being in foul trouble for most of the night.
Tatum (32 points) and Brown (26 points) did their part in an otherwise lackluster offensive performance for the Celtics. They’ll look to bounce back Wednesday night when they visit the Philadelphia 76ers.
First, here are our takeaways from Monday’s action.
Best defense beats best offense
What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? We got our answer with the Celtics’ No. 1 offense taking on a Timberwolves team that boasts the best defensive rating in the league.
The C’s, who racked up 75+ points in the first half against the Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers, notched only 74 points through three quarters against Minnesota’s stifling D. The Timberwolves set the tone with a strong first quarter in which they limited Boston to 42.9 percent shooting (2-for-9 from 3) and forced five turnovers.
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The Celtics shot just 39.1 percent from the field for the game, including an uncharacteristic 28.2 percent (11-for-39) from beyond the arc. Their 101 points in regulation marked their lowest total through the first six games of the campaign.
Minnesota, now 4-2 on the season, put on an impressive performance against the NBA championship favorite. Perhaps our 2023-24 NBA season simulation was on to something after all…
Off shooting night for non-Jays
The Celtics have dominated their opponents this season because when Tatum or Brown isn’t producing, someone else is stepping up. Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday have fit in seamlessly and Derrick White has continued to be a key piece.
On Monday though, Porzingis and Holiday struggled to find consistency while White (personal reasons) was inactive. That left the C’s fighting for every bucket against Minnesota’s tough defense.
Celtics players not named Tatum or Brown shot a combined 14-for-49 (28.6 percent) from the field. Porzingis (20 points, 5-14 FG) and Sam Hauser (11 points, 3-8 FG) were the most efficient options after the Jays.
Boston set an unrealistic standard with its dominant five-game stretch to open the season. The offense isn’t always going to be clicking on all cylinders throughout the 82-game schedule. It was a rough night, but not one that should set off any alarms heading into Wednesday’s game in Philadelphia.
As for how the Jays performed, Tatum crossed the 30-point threshold for the fifth time in six games this season. Brown hit several clutch shots while giving Timberwolves big man Rudy Gobert nightmares.
Anthony Edwards turning into a superstar
Nothing could slow Anthony Edwards down on Monday night. Not the Celtics defense, not foul trouble, nothing.
The 22-year-old came out firing with 19 points and six rebounds in the first half. With fellow star Karl-Anthony Towns struggling out the gate, it was Edwards who provided the much-needed spark for Minnesota.
His stellar night hit a snag early in the third quarter when he was given his fourth personal foul. That prompted Wolves coach Chris Finch to sit Edwards for most of the frame, much to his chagrin. He earned his fifth foul early in the fourth quarter and it seemed to be only a matter of time before he’d be forced out of the game.
That never came to fruition for Boston. Edwards avoided that sixth foul and finished with a stellar OT. He dropped eight points in the extra period to send the Celtics packing with their first loss of the season.
Edwards ended up with 38 points (15-25 FG), nine rebounds, and seven assists in 38 minutes. A first-time All-Star last season, he certainly looks like someone we’ll be watching in many All-Star events in the years to come.