By Tom Westerholm | firstname.lastname@example.org | Posted December 01, 2018 at 10:29 PM
Jim Mone/AP Photo
MINNEAPOLIS — The Boston Celtics survived a late push by the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday, pulling out a 118-109 victory on the second night of a back-to-back. Here are 10 things we learned.
1. Finally, the Celtics looked like a complete team.
Kyrie Irving was good, even though he missed shots (21 points and seven assists). Gordon Hayward scored 30 points in easily his best game as a Celtic. Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Marcus Morris and Marcus Smart all pitched in. The Celtics looked like a complete team for the first time this season.
Of course, the Celtics weren’t complete: Jaylen Brown is still sitting out. But for the first time, we got a look at the juggernaut Boston was supposed to be — a deadly multi-headed monster capable of killing you with Kyrie Irving, or with any other of a number of devastating two-way looks.
A reminder: The Celtics have a ton of good players, and when good players play well together, they are incredibly hard to beat.
2. Robert Covington guarding Kyrie was tough for Boston.
The Timberwolves started the game with Covington covering Irving, which was a pretty solid strategy — Covington’s length and size made him more difficult to pass over when the Timberwolves tried to trap Irving in pick-and-roll sets (more on this particular strategy in a moment).
As the game progressed, the Wolves began to go away from that particular look, and Irving burned them. Don’t be too surprised if other teams with lengthy wing defenders try this in the future — rather than letting Irving get comfortable as a passer, teams can try to swallow him up and get the ball out of his hands.