GAME PREVIEW (via STATS LLC)
The Boston Celtics will finish with a winning record on their longest road trip of the season if they can get past the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Celtics will try to send the Timberwolves to an 11th consecutive home loss and sixth in a row overall Wednesday night.
Since opening its trek with a 102-93 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 19, Boston (16-27) has taken three of four, with its other defeat coming by three points to league-leading Golden State on Sunday.
The Celtics bounced back with a 99-90 win over Utah the next day, their fourth game in five nights. Tayshaun Prince led the way with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting and five assists, his best showing since being acquired from Memphis in a three-team deal Jan. 12.
"That's what makes this special, to go through this with a young team and pull out some wins in this situation," Prince told the team's official website.
Boston went 0-5 on its longest trip in 2013-14 and hasn't finished with a winning mark on a trek this long since going 4-2 from Feb. 11-25, 2009. The team went 4-4 on an eight-game trip in March 2012.
The Celtics have lost their past two games in Minnesota but have taken the last two overall matchups, including a 114-98 victory Dec. 19. The Timberwolves (7-37) were missing five players in that game and won't have Kevin Martin (wrist), Shabazz Muhammad (oblique), Ricky Rubio (ankle) and Robbie Hummel (broken hand) for this one.
Muhammad had a team-best 26 points on 11-of-15 shooting against the Celtics in December.
Boston won't have Kelly Olynyk, who scored a team-leading 21 points in the win over Minnesota, because of a sprained right ankle that will reportedly keep him out for at least two weeks. The Celtics got rookie guard Marcus Smart back on the court Monday following a death in his family.
While Boston has won two of three during Olynyk's absence, Minnesota has continued to struggle while short-handed.
The Timberwolves are on the verge of matching the longest single-season home losing streak in team history, from Jan. 28-March 9, 2009. They've also dropped 21 of 23 overall after a 92-84 loss in Oklahoma City on Monday.
TWO THINGS TO WATCH (via Chris Forsberg)
• Finishing strong: Even after Tuesday's offday, the Celtics are going to be feeling the effects of this grueling six-game road trip when it concludes in Minnesota. Boston has a chance to finish strong, but will have to dig deep, even against the lowly Wolves. This is a night where some of the team's fresher legs off the bench could help by providing a spark.
• Wolves in focus: Minnesota doesn't do much well (27th in offensive rating; 30th in defensive rating), but two numbers jump off the advanced stats page: The Wolves are sixth in offensive rebound percentage and seventh in pace. Boston did a good job limiting the second-chance damage in Utah, but Minnesota is going to seem like a bunch of gazelles after playing against the plodding Jazz. The Celtics like to run, too, but they probably don't want a track meet on the final game of the trip.