NBA: Celtics' Hayward explodes for 35 in beating Wolves

Field Level Media via Reuters

Posted at Jan 03 2019 12:25 PM

Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward (20) dunks the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves at TD Garden. Greg M. Cooper, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Boston's Gordon Hayward scored a season-high 35 points and Terry Rozier got the start for an injured Kyrie Irving and scored 16 points on Wednesday to lead the Celtics to a 115-102 home win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Irving suffered a right eye injury in a loss to San Antonio on New Year's Eve and his status remains day-to-day. Minnesota also was short-handed without Jeff Teague, Derrick Rose and Robert Covington dressing.

Hayward connected on 14 of 18 shots and went 4-for-7 from 3-point range, including a 27-footer from the top of the key with 4:37 left that put the Celtics up 106-92 after Minnesota had cut a 21-point deficit to six.

In the teams' first meeting, Hayward scored 30 points in a Celtics' 118-109 win on December 1.

Andrew Wiggins led the Timberwolves with a season-high 31 points. Karl-Anthony Towns finished 28 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.

Minnesota came alive in the third quarter after the Celtics had grabbed a 60-42 halftime lead. The Timberwolves cut the deficit to 77-67 on a Towns' 26-foot, 3-pointer.

Boston's Marcus Smart sprained his shoulder in a collision with Towns early in the third with the Celtics up 18. When he returned, the Celtics were up only 85-74.

Towns scored 20 third-quarter points and the Timberwolves trailed just 87-81 heading into the fourth quarter.

Marcus Morris also injured his shoulder on a driving layup in the fourth. Morris left the game and did not return.

Boston shot 61.5 percent from the field in the first half and went 8-for-17 from 3-point range. Minnesota was a dreadful 41 percent from the field and only 3 of 10 from beyond the arc in the first 24 minutes.

The Timberwolves looked like they still were dragging from a New Year's Eve loss to New Orleans as the Celtics went on a 16-0 second-quarter run to go up, 47-27.

Hayward's 23-foot, 3-point jumper ignited the rally that saw Minnesota miss nine straight shots and turn the ball over four times.

Tyus Jones ended the drought with a 12-foot jumper, but Hayward answered with another 3 to give the Celtics a 21-point lead.

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