BOSTON (AP) — Marcus Smart scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half, Kyrie Irving had 16 points, nine rebounds and eight assists and the Boston Celtics pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 91-84 on Friday night.
Terry Rozier had 14 points and nine rebounds, Aron Baynes had 11 points and 10 rebounds and Jaylen Brown also scored 11 for Boston, which has won five straight and six of seven.
Karl-Anthony Towns led the Timberwolves with 25 points and a career-high 23 rebounds. Jimmy Butler scored 14, Jamal Crawford had 13 points and Andrew Wiggins scored 10 for Minnesota, which lost back-to-back games for the first time since November.
Towns pulled down more than half of the Timberwolves’ 43 rebounds, and no other Minnesota player had more than four as Boston dominated the glass 56-43.
Boston had a rough night shooting, going 38 for 94 (40.4 percent) and making just 6 of 36 3-pointers. Minnesota shot 36.8 percent from the field.
The Timberwolves, coming off a 98-97 loss at Brooklyn on Wednesday, faded early in the fourth after leading by as many as seven in what had been a tight game. The lead changed 14 times before Boston went up for good in the final period.
Irving drove for a layup with one second left in the third, starting a 10-2 run that allowed the Celtics to start pulling away early in the fourth. Baynes scored Boston’s first four points of the final period, and Rozier banked in a shot and then added a 3-pointer with 8:02 left that gave the Celtics a 77-68 lead.
Boston continued its run, getting a dunk by Baynes followed by a steal by Smart that started a fast break and sent Smart to the line for two free throws that pushed the lead to 85-73 with 6:05 remaining.
Timberwolves: Lost their 11th straight at Boston. … Towns had a double-double by halftime with 14 points and 13 rebounds in the first two quarters. His previous career high was 22 rebounds against Houston last Feb. 25, and the most he pulled down this season was 19 against Oklahoma City on Oct. 27.
Celtics: Aren’t home again until Jan. 16, a stretch that includes a game in London against Philadelphia on Jan. 11. … Boston swept the two games against Minnesota last season. … The Celtics shot 20 percent (3 for 15) from 3-point range in the first half.
Timberwolves: Host the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night.
Celtics: Visit the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night.
(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)