EditorsNote: adds to second, third and fourth grafs
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 sustained 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, all due to ankle injuries.
Hayward connected on 14 of 18 shots from the floor and went 4 of 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. He had gone scoreless on 0-of-6 shooting Monday in Boston’s loss at San Antonio.
Minnesota had cut a 22-point, third-quarter deficit to six entering the fourth.
In the teams’ first meeting, Hayward scored 30 points in a Celtics’ 118-109 win on Dec. 1 at Minneapolis.
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.
Celtics forward 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 of 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 as if they still were dragging from a New Year’s Eve loss at 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 consecutive shots and turn the ball over four times.
Tyus Jones ended the drought with a 12-foot jumper, but Hayward answered with another trey to give the Celtics a 21-point lead.
—Field Level Media