Gordon Hayward scored a game-high 29 points and the visiting Boston Celtics played strong defense down the stretch to hold off the Minnesota Timberwolves 127-117 on Friday night.
Jayson Tatum scored 28 points and Jaylen Brown and Daniel Theis chipped in with 25 apiece as the Celtics came out of the All-Star break with its fourth victory in the last five road games. Boston has won 12 of 14 overall.
Malik Beasley had 27 points to pace the Timberwolves, who were without star center Karl-Anthony Towns, out with a sprained left wrist.
Boston led most of the way, including by as many as 12 points in the second quarter and 13 in the third period.
Tatum's 3-pointer put the Celtics up 98-88 with 10:50 remaining, before the Timberwolves made a late push. Minnesota got within 100-98 on Jordan McLaughlin's trey and subsequently within one on three occasions, the last time at 108-107 on two Naz Reid free throws with 6:20 to go.
But Hayward countered with a 3-pointer and the Celtics held the Timberwolves to just four points in the next 4:20 while gradually pulling away.
Hayward shot 12 of 17 and the Celtics outshot the Timberwolves 46.3 percent to 40.4.
Tatum (11 rebounds), Theis (game-high 16 rebounds) and Marcus Smart (10 points, 10 assists) all recorded double-doubles for Boston, which went without injured point guard Kemba Walker.
Beasley connected on 4 of 8 from behind the arc to account for a majority of his points for Minnesota, which lost for the 16th time in its last 17 games.
D'Angelo Russell had 18 points and a game-high 13 assists for the Timberwolves. Reid finished with 19 points, Juan Hernangomez 17, McLaughlin 11 and Josh Okogie 10.
The Timberwolves were outrebounded 58-43 but stayed close by outscoring the Celtics 45-30 on 3-pointers.
--Field Level Media