REMEMBER THESE GUYS? The Celtics have film of Minnesota from the preseason, so that'll aid the quick turnaround. That said, it's not film the Celtics are going to want to study. You'll recall that preseason meeting as the game that Gerald Wallace questioned the effort level of the team after a lopsided 104-89 loss. The Celtics most certainly have to bring better effort this time around. The Timberwolves rank in the top 10 in both offensive rating (8th) and defensive rating (8th), and climb in net rating (5th). As STATS LLC notes on Minnesota, the Timberwolves rank near the top of the NBA at 108.7 points per game, and have averaged 114.6 while hitting 40.7 percent from 3-point range over their last five. Sounds a lot like the Portland team that Boston had few answers for on Friday night in Boston.
GET READY TO RUN: The Timberwolves are first in the NBA in averaging a whopping 102.3 possessions per 48 minutes. Boston's in the lower half of the league at 96.18 (though a cranked tempo has helped the Celtics when they take care of the ball and rebound). Boston's not going to win a track meet with Minnesota, but it can't be shy about running off defensive stops.
MORE FROM FIRST UNIT: Boston's starting five of Avery Bradley, Jordan Crawford, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass and Kelly Olynyk weren't particularly crisp on Friday. That unit combined on 14-of-42 shooting -- including 0-for-7 beyond the 3-point arc -- for a total of 39 points. In eight minutes of floor time together, the group was only minus-1, which suggests they atoned a bit on the defensive end, but Boston needs more offensive production from the first unit.
48-MINUTE EFFORT: It has all resolved back to this lately. The Celtics need to put together a complete game if they're going to compete with top competition. With a rare two-day break looming after Saturday's game, there's no reason for Boston not to go full tilt (even on the tail end of a back-to-back). Starters didn't play very many minutes Friday and need to set the tone early while avoiding the breakdowns that occurred when Boston relaxed against the Blazers.