Mazzulla: Celtics loss to Timberwolves ‘a lot of fun and very competitive’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Boston Celtics fell to the Minnesota Timberwolves 114-109 in overtime Monday night for their first loss of the regular season, credited to Anthony Edwards’ 38-point performance.
Going into the game as the only remaining undefeated team, the Celtics now stand at 5-1 and remain on top of the Eastern Conference. Rather than harping on the loss, Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla is choosing to focus on the positives.
“I thought that was a hell of a game,” Mazzulla said during his postgame press conference. “It was a lot of fun, it was very competitive, and our opponents are always going to bring the best out of us.”
The game remained tight through the first half, but Minnesota went on a 27-19 run in the third quarter. The Celtics battled back in the fourth, going on a 27-22 run, but ultimately fell short in OT.
While Mazzulla mentioned that the opponents will bring the best out of them, the same is to be said for the opposition. Starting the season off as hot as they did, the Celtics will surely have a target on them each and every game, with each team wanting to prove that they can battle with the best.
“I thought we competed at a high level,” Mazzulla added. “I thought their defensive toughness outmatched our offensive toughness, at times. But I thought both teams played a really good game.”
While fans may be quick to jump on the Celtics for losing to Minnesota, it needs to be known that the Timberwolves are no slouches. Standing as the league’s top defensive team, it was Minnesota who also ended the Denver Nuggets’ unbeaten streak to start the year. The Timberwolves’ defense again was the deciding factor Monday night, causing the Celtics to have their worst shooting night of the season so far at 39.1 percent from the field and 28.2 percent from beyond the arc. They also forced Boston into a season-high 16 turnovers.
It is also worth noting that this loss came without the help of Celtics’ guard Derrick White, who remained out for personal reasons. Al Horford entered the starting lineup in his place, logging three points on 20 percent shooting, five rebounds, four assists, and a steal. Horford also logged two turnovers, with one coming in a crucial moment late in the overtime period.
While Mazzulla could have easily chosen to harp on the negatives, he knows there is still a long season ahead. The Celtics were never going to go 82-0, and a loss was inevitable. Boston will now get to study the film breakdowns to see where they went wrong and how they can adjust in tight games down the stretch before taking on the 5-1 Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.