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November 17. 2013 3:03AM

Timberwolves hand Celtics third straight loss

MINNEAPOLIS -- Kevin Love had 23 points and 12 rebounds as host Minnesota rolled to its fifth win in six home games, 106-88, over the Boston Celtics on Saturday night.

Nikola Pekovic had 20 points and 12 rebounds and Kevin Martin scored 20 for the Timberwolves.

Former Northeastern University star Jose Barea had 13 points and five steals off the bench.

Avery Bradley scored a season-high 27 points to pace Boston, which has lost three straight following a four-game winning streak.

Leading scorer Jeff Green was held to two points on a pair of free throws, going without a field goal for the first time since an 0-for-9 effort at Orlando last Nov. 25.

Minnesota led by as many as 17 points before settling for a five-point halftime advantage that was reduced to 59-55 on Bradley's jumper with 9:48 left in the third quarter.

Martin had five points and Love four as the Timberwolves answered with an 11-0 surge en route to an 89-70 advantage entering the fourth.

MarShon Brooks had back-to-back hoops early in the fourth as Boston attempted one last push, but it was thwarted when Barea had a layup and rookie Robbie Hummel buried a 3-pointer on the next possession.

Minnesota, which forced 22 turnovers, was never threatened again as it won its second straight over the Celtics following 11 straight setbacks.

GAME NOTEBOOK: Celtics G Courtney Lee was scratched due to a sore wrist. ... Green missed all six of his shot attempts and is 4-for-18 from the floor in the last two games. ... Pekovic shot 8-of-9 and had eight of his rebounds on the offensive end.


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