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Reply To: NBA • Monday Service Plays • 2/22/16

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Preview: Boston At Minnesota

When: 8:00 PM ET, Monday, February 22, 2016
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Boston Celtics are eyeing a home-heavy portion of the schedule, but first must wrap up a three-game road trip at Minnesota on Monday. The Celtics have split the first two games of the trek, losing by 18 in Utah before winning by 20 in Denver on Sunday, riding 22 points and 12 assists from Isaiah Thomas to improve to 16-14 on the road.

Following the visit to Minneapolis, Boston plays five straight games and seven of its next eight at home, where it has won eight straight. The Celtics have another streak on the line Monday, as they have won five consecutive contests that fell on the second half of a back-to-back. The Timberwolves offered little resistance in a 113-99 loss at Boston earlier this season but have claimed three meetings in a row at home. They are coming off a 103-95 loss to New York on Saturday, scoring 16 points in the first quarter, 13 in the third and trailing by as many as 28 points in the fourth.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, CSN New England (Boston), FSN North (Minnesota)

ABOUT THE CELTICS (33-24): Sunday offered up another example of how valuable Evan Turner is to Boston, as he finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists off the bench. Turner had a team-high 13 points in the first half to help the Celtics build a 15-point lead and easily record his seventh double-digit scoring effort in eight games this month, during which he is also averaging nearly seven boards and six assists in roughly 28 minutes. The veteran had a season-high 10 assists in the previous meeting with Minnesota, while Thomas handed out 12 to help offset a season-low eight points.

ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (17-39): Minnesota will be looking for a bit more from big man Gorgui Dieng, who had three points on 1-of-6 shooting against the Knicks and was in the middle as his team was outrebounded 51-31. Dieng, who entered with a string of five straight double-doubles, registered a minus-23 rating in 25 minutes as the Timberwolves gave up at least 100 points for the 13th time in their last 14 games. While Boston is nearing a long stretch at home, Minnesota will play nine of its next 12 contests away from the Target Center.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Timberwolves SF Andrew Wiggins is averaging 23.9 points in February.

2. Celtics C Jared Sullinger has grabbed exactly 11 rebounds in each of his last four games.

3. Boston is 10-3 overall in the second half of back-to-backs.

PREDICTION: Celtics 104, Timberwolves 100