Kyrie Irving returned from a one-game absence to help Boston fend off Minnesota, finishing with 23 points in a 117-109 victory over the Timberwolves Thursday that clinched a spot in the playoffs for the Celtics.
Karl-Anthony Towns recorded yet another double-double in what has become a common occurrence for the first-time All-Star, and Minnesota got a much better defensive effort in the second half to pull away for a second straight lopsided win.
Before his team faced the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night, Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau stressed the Timberwolves couldn't replace injured star Jimmy Butler with a single player. To overcome his absence, they would need a collective effort.
Former University of Minnesota basketball standout Reggie Lynch dropped his appeal Thursday of his expulsion over allegations of raping two women, while insisting "I did not commit any of the acts that I am being accused of."
Taj Gibson scored a season-high 28 points and Jimmy Butler added 24, providing the Timberwolves with the production and energy for a 119-111 comeback victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.