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Hayward explodes for 30 as Celtics beat T-wolves

The Celtics extended their modest win streak to three games, getting the last two on consecutive nights.

The T-wolves saw their season-best win streak snapped at four games.

In the first quarter, the Celtics crawled back from an early seven-point deficit to lead 29-26 through the end of the opening frame on the strength of strong ball movement.

The second quarter saw the Celtics expand that lead to 57-48 by halftime, built largely with nine 3-pointers to Minnesota’s’ four triples. Hayward (14 points) and Kyrie Irving (12) were already in double figures for the Celtics at the break, while Derrick Rose responded with 12 for Minnesota.

A high-scoring 3rd quarter saw the Timberwolves shave only two points from the halftime deficit. Boston relied heavily on an inside-out game between Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.

Trailing 89-81 early in the final frame, the T-wolves ripped off an 8-0 run to tie the game with less than nine minutes remaining before Boston responded with its own 9-0 run. The Celtics never looked back.

For the Celtics, in addition to Heyward they got big performances from Jayson Tatum, who scored 19 points and added nine rebounds. Irving also chipped in with 21 points and nine assists.

Jaylen Brown missed his third straight game for the Celtics because of a nagging back injury, resulting in Marcus Smart’s third start of the season.

The Timberwolves were led by Towns, who posted 20 points and nine rebounds. Robert Covington added 17 points, 10 rebounds and four steals in a spirited effort for the losing side. Rose scored 26 off the bench.

Up next for Boston is a four-day gap before the Celtics visit the New York Knicks on Thursday. Minnesota’s next contest is the third game of their current 4-game homestand as they host the Houston Rockets on Monday.

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