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Minnesota Timberwolves

Down all five starters, Timberwolves’ reserves rise up to knock off Celtics – Twin Cities

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No Anthony Edwards, no Karl-Anthony Towns, no D’Angelo Russell, no Jarred Vanderbilt, no Patrick Beverley, although the latter was certainly a vocal force from the bench.

Minnesota didn’t have a single starter available for Monday’s home game against Boston. Instead, the Timberwolves trotted past and present members of the G League Iowa Wolves, a veteran center who hadn’t played in a game in two and a half years and a scoring guard who had been waiting for this moment for the entirety of his young career.

And that was more than enough to win.

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Minnesota’s patchwork roster took it to Boston, knocking off the Celtics 108-103.

It did so with Nathan Knight, who exited the game with a lower-body injury in the second quarter, storming back with a vengeance in the third frame to score eight points over the first four minutes of the quarter. Knight, who’s on the team via a two-way roster spot, finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds after he was thrust into starting duties.

The Wolves did so with Greg Monroe, who was at a G League showcase in Las Vegas just a week ago. Timberwolves coach Chris Finch was asked pregame how many minutes he could get out of Monroe, who arrived in Minnesota earlier in the day Monday.

“I don’t know,” Finch said. “I’ll have to ask him.”

The answer was 25. The 31-year-old center showed he still has every bit of the offensive feel he used to as an offensive force in the League years ago. Monroe quarterbacked Minnesota’s offense from the post. He finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

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Jaylen Nowell has been an offensive revelation for the Wolves of late. He’s provided a needed scoring burst from the second unit. On Monday, Minnesota (16-17) needed Nowell to take centerstage. He did just that, burying six triples and delivering a thunderous driving jam in the middle of an early fourth-quarter surge that put Minnesota ahead for good. Nowell went off for 29 points and six rebounds.

Timberwolves’ fans didn’t get to see any of the faces they likely showed up to Target Center to witness Monday. The stars were not out. Boston (16-18) was even down its best player, Jayson Tatum, though the Celtics were still equipped with three starters. Young star wing Jaylen Brown was one of them, but Minnesota held him to 8 for 24 shooting.

If this was your lone pilgrimage to Minneapolis this season, you likely arrived to the arena disappointed. But you left happy.

An appreciative crowd delivered a standing ovation as the final buzzer sounded.

“I think 90 percent of the time we’ve stepped out onto the floor we’ve played hard and we’ve played in a manner that makes everyone proud, and that’s what we’re going to do again tonight,” Finch said pregame. “We’re here to win, we’re here to play hard and we’re here to play the way we’ve been playing.”

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