- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Boston Celtics are north of the border for the second time in five days to joust with the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Bell Centre in Montreal as part of the NBA's Canada Series on Sunday night (6 p.m., CSN). Here's what to watch for:
* FINISHING STRONG: The Celtics dropped back-to-back games last week against the Nets and Raptors, both by two points apiece, and coach Brad Stevens emphasized "finishing" in the two days of practice that followed. Stevens doesn't just want his team to finish games stronger, but finish possessions better to ensure Boston isn't searching for a winning shot on its final possession.
* LEE IN FOCUS: Courtney Lee put together tow of his better games of the preseason coming off the bench last week. With Phil Pressey (ankle) a game-time decision and Stevens hinting Saturday he might play it safe with the rookie guard, then Lee would be in line to vault into the starting lineup (with Jordan Crawford likely sliding to reserve point guard behind Avery Bradley in that scenario). Said Stevens, "I told Courtney last week, it doesn’t matter if he starts or comes off the bench and he agreed with that. After we had that talk, he played two of his best games off the bench. I think Courtney will be in good shape with [wherever he plays]."
* PLAYING 48 MINUTES: The Celtics have been prone to an in-game lull in each of their five preseason losses. Stevens has noted his team is playing 38 minutes right now, and he needs 48 out of them. Asked about that struggle to put together a full game, Gerald Wallace said, "I think it’s lackadaisical, I think a lot of guys are not coming in focused. You got a lot of guys that are not used to starting, not used to have that main role. It’s going to be different, they are going to have to change their approach to the game, understand what it takes to start a game. You have to bring that energy, you have to get your team going right off the bat. It’s going to come in time." Wallace spent the end of Saturday's practice running with a starting group that included Bradley, Lee, Kelly Olynyk, and Jared Sullinger.
* WHAT ELSE?: After three days off since their last game, it will be interesting to see what translates from the practice floor to the court for Boston... Will coach Stevens extend minutes at all as the regular season nears? ... MarShon Brooks scored a team-high 17 points over 19:32 last time out and could see quality time again, especially if Pressey sits... Kris Humphries should be back after missing the last game with a sore left foot.
5dMatt Walks, ESPN.com
6dESPN Stats and Information Group