The final 6 seconds of Nets vs. Celtics were whistle-less chaos

Celtics, Timberwolves to play out tight game

A pair of Butler free throws gave Minnesota its biggest lead of the game at 55-48 with 4:53 to play in the third before Boston closed the period on an 18-7 run.

The Boston Celtics really showed the rest of the National Basketball Association how bad they can get on the court during that brutal stretch in December.

Both teams shot the ball poorly in the first half, combining to shoot 36 percent overall.

Marcus Smart had 18 points off the bench to pace the Celtics. Daniel Theis, trying to play defense, irritated Quincy Acy something fierce.

The Celtics once again relied on a decisive output from their bench backcourt of Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart, who scored a combined for 32 points, to overcome the frigid shooting conditions from the field in last night's 91-84 win over the Timberwolves.

During this five game winning streak, the Celtics had the comeback of the year against the Rockets, their most dominant wire to wire victory against the Cavaliers, and they were able to handle all the star power of a hot Timberwolves team. "We just didn't make the shots we needed to make", Towns said. Jimmy Butler scored 14 points, Jamal Crawford had 13 and Andrew Wiggins added 10.

In his past two games, Smart is shooting 51.9 percent from the field and averaging 16.5 points, continuing an upward trend from late December. "When I get in the game I just try to create a lot of chaos and get us to running the floor".

In a hard-fought contest that included 15 lead changes, the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics finally turned the tide late in the third quarter to post their fifth straight win.

Harvey, Syndergaard and deGrom among Mets to avoid arbitration
In the bullpen, Jeurys Familia and the team settled at $7.9 million, AJ Ramos at $9.25 million and Hansel Robles for $900,000. Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey delivers against the Nationals at Citi Field on September 23, 2017.

Boston coach Brad Stevens said Smart is a luxury to have coming off the bench for the Celtics.

A 17-8 run at the start of the fourth quarter proved crucial in the San Antonio Spurs' 103-89 win over the Phoenix Suns.

"Sometimes when we're struggling, I think the ball is going to find energy". We brought it down a little bit, but we're playing at a higher level. We need him to continue to do so.

"We've just got to make a conscious effort to go get them". "He did a great job of it, but we've got to help him".

Timberwolves: Hadn't lost back-to-back games since November 19 against Detroit and the following night at Charlotte.

Going 9-of-16 from the floor and a flawless 6-for-6 from the free throw line, Towns posted 25 points, pulled down a ridiculous 23 rebounds and also had two blocks on the defensive end in a dominant individual performance against the Boston Celtics.

Celtics: Aren't home again until January 16, a stretch that includes a game in London against Philadelphia on January 11. Towns, meanwhile, hopes to help Minnesota avoid a three-game skid also this Saturday at home versus the visiting New Orleans Pelicans.

However, he is now a game-time decision Saturday as the Celtics visit the Brooklyn Nets on the second night of a back-to-back.

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