Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 2/6

Game 1: Sunday, February 6th
Game 2: Sunday, March 6th

Timberwolves 99

(30-30, 13-16 away)

Celtics 97

(31-29, 21-10 home)

    Coverage: KSTC

    6:00 PM ET, March 6, 2005

    TD Garden, Boston, MA

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIN 27 23 22 2799
    BOS 27 23 23 2497

    Top Performers

    Min: K. Garnett 21 Pts, 13 Reb, 9 Ast, 2 Stl

    Bos: G. Payton 17 Pts, 3 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Blk

    Pierce held to 12 points; Garnett nets 21 points, 13 rebounds

    BOSTON (AP) -- Kevin McHale's coaching debut in Boston was a success, thanks to Latrell Sprewell.

    Sprewell made a runner with 0.9 seconds remaining to lift the Minnesota Timberwolves over the Celtics 99-97 on Sunday, giving McHale a victory in his first game on the sidelines in Boston.

    "Spree stayed ready the whole game," McHale said. "I told Spree to stay ready, we're gonna need you. Sometimes those basketball gods reward you for doing the right stuff."

    McHale, who took over as Timberwolves coach for the fired Flip Saunders, played his entire 13-year, Hall of Fame career in green and white. He helped lead the Celtics to three NBA championships before taking over as Minnesota's vice president of basketball operations in 1995.

    "I enjoy coming back to Boston," McHale said. "But, I'll be honest with you. Taking over when I did -- in the middle of the season with no practice -- I am so worried about our team and what we have to do that I couldn't enjoy it."

    McHale's trip would have been even less enjoyable if not for Sprewell's floater from the left baseline. Ricky Davis had a chance to tie it for the Celtics, but his open jumper from 18 feet rimmed out as time expired.

    Kevin Garnett had 21 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists for the Wolves, who handed the Celtics their first loss since the return of Antoine Walker. Wally Szczerbiak added 20 points.

    Walker had 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting for Boston and had a chance to give the Celtics the lead with 1:43 left, but missed the first of two foul shots. He made the second to tie the game at 97.

    "I thought Antoine battled Garnett extremely well on the post and took him out of some stuff there," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "But we had more blow-bys, we had more times when we could have fronted them. It was just a disappointing loss in that way."

    Davis scored 22 points to pace Boston, which had won four straight after reacquiring Walker before the trading deadline. Gary Payton, who was traded for Walker but re-signed with Boston after being waived by Atlanta, added 17 points and six assists.

    Minnesota limited Paul Pierce to 12 points on 6-of-16 shooting, but he did have nine assists.

    "Minnesota did a great job executing," Pierce said. "Both teams shot the ball really well, we just didn't come up with that defensive stand that we needed."

    The Celtics used a 10-4 spurt to take an 83-76 lead with 8:45 left. Delonte West and Mark Blount each scored four points during the stretch.

    But the Wolves later answered with a 10-4 run of their own and took an 88-87 lead on Fred Hoiberg's 3-pointer with 6:02 to play. Szczerbiak's three-point play with 4 minutes left extended Minnesota's lead to 94-89.

    Davis answered with a three-point play for Boston 36 seconds later and his jump shot with 2:49 left gave the Celtics a 96-95 lead.

    Garnett followed with a jumper in the lane to put Minnesota back up 97-96.

    Garnett scored 12 of his points in the third quarter, but the Celtics countered with a 7-1 run midway through the period. Pierce's layup with 41.7 seconds on the clock gave his team a 73-72 entering the fourth.

    Game notes

    West has not committed a turnover in 81:03. ... The Wolves' Sam Cassell missed the game with a strained right hamstring. Michael Olowokandi also sat with a knee injury. ... McHale is the fifth member of the 1985-86 champion Celtics to become a head coach in the NBA. Larry Bird, Rick Carlisle, Dennis Johnson and current Celtics basketball boss Danny Ainge are the others.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 99 97
    FGM-FGA 42-78 (.538) 43-79 (.544)
    3PM-3PA 3-13 (.231) 4-9 (.444)
    FTM-FTA 12-15 (.800) 7-9 (.778)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-36 7-31
    Assists 28 27
    Turnovers 13 12
    Steals 9 6
    Blocks 2 7
    Fast Break Points 11 13
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 15 (0/0) 14 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 12 8

    Top Performers

    Kevin Garnett Garnett
    Points: 21
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 9
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Gary Payton Payton
    Points: 17
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1