BOSTON — Jared Sullinger had 24 points and 11 rebounds, hitting a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 2:22 left on Monday night and the Boston Celtics beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 101-97.
Sullinger had 15 points and six rebounds in the fourth quarter, and Avery Bradley had 19 points for the game. The Celtics won for the fifth time in seven games to hold onto first place in the Atlantic Division despite a 12-14 record that would be 12th-best in the Western Conference.
Kevin Love had 27 points and 14 rebounds for Minnesota, which has not won in Boston since 2005. But he was 2 for 11 from 3-point range as the Timberwolves, who hit a season-high 12 3-pointers at Memphis on Sunday, went 8 of 29 from beyond the arc.
Love hit a 3-pointer to give Minnesota a 92-90 lead with 3:48 to play, then Jordan Crawford tied it from the right baseline. Sullinger missed a baby hook putback for Boston, but Alexey Shved missed a 3-pointer and Sullinger then hit his 3 from the top of the key to give Boston the lead for good.
Boston led 95-94 when Sullinger grabbed the rebound of J.J. Barea’s miss and made free throws with 18 seconds left to make it a three-point game. Nikola Pekovic missed a dunk, then Sullinger grabbed another rebound and made one of two free throws with 14 seconds left to help ice it.
After Love missed a 3, Sullinger grabbed another rebound.
Bradley had 10 points in the first quarter to help the Celtics open an eight-point lead. Love had six points and five rebounds for Minnesota after one, but it was Luc Mbah a Moute who led the Timberwolves in the second quarter, scoring seven points with four rebounds to help them open a one-point lead before Sullinger’s free throws just before the half gave Boston a 51-50 edge.
Pekovic scored the first seven points of the second half — all but a free throw in the lane — to help the Wolves take a 57-51 lead. But Boston went on a 17-4 run to turn the six-point deficit into a seven-point lead.
NOTES: Berea had 10 points and 11 assists for Minnesota. … Minnesota F Dante Cunningham needed to be helped from the court after he was fouled by Sullinger with just under 4 minutes remaining in the game. … Minnesota beat Boston 106-88 in their only other meeting this season, on Nov. 16. … The Timberwolves played their third game in four nights. … First-round Boston draft pick Kelly Olynyk had nine points in 14 minutes in his second game back after missing 10 with a sprained right ankle.