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Love leads Wolves over Celtics in pre-season game in Montreal

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The Canadian Press
10/20/2013 10:11:57 PM
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MONTREAL -- The Minnesota Timberwolves have been waiting for a player like Kevin Martin for a long time.

Martin's 21 points and five rebounds led the Timberwolves to a 104-89 victory over the Boston Celtics in NBA pre-season action Sunday night at the Bell Centre.

"He's a 20-point-a-night guy who showed throughout this pre-season what he can do," said Minnesota power forward Kevin Love of his teammate.

"It's a really tough guard when you have a guy like Kevin Martin who's so fast and can get open, runs the break, can shoot the ball from distance. He only needs a split-second."

Martin, who was traded to the Timberwolves in the off-season from the Oklahoma City Thunder, was lights out from beyond the arc, finishing five-for eight and scoring 15 of his 21 points from behind the three-point line.

"I felt good. I got out there, had the team following, running offence," said Martin. "Offensively we've always been good with this system. It's easy to be good offensively."

The Minnesota Timberwolves are averaging more than 100 points a game so far this pre-season.

"In offence, we have enough talent to score," said T-Wolves point guard Ricky Rubio. "I don't think we're going to have problems scoring points this season."

Rubio led both teams with seven assists.

After a 12-point Minnesota run early in the first quarter, Celtics coach Brad Stevens called a timeout to calm his team's nerves. The score was 18-7.

Boston settled down and answered with a 9-0 run that saw Gerald Wallace, who ended the game with 16 points and three assists for Boston, score twice on quick breaks. The Celtics trailed 31-27 at the end of the quarter.

The Timberwolves retained their slim advantage throughout the second quarter, and led 57-51 at the half. Wolves guard Love led all teams in scoring at the half with 16 points.

Minnesota kept Boston at bay in the third with good three-point shooting by Martin. The T-Wolves, who shot an impressive 40 per cent from three-point range, led 81-72 at the start of the fourth quarter.

That's when Minnesota began pulling away. Led by bench-player J.J. Barea's six points, the Timberwolves outscored Boston 23-17 in the final quarter.

"We're getting more acclimated with each other each day that goes by," said Martin. "I'm very hopeful for the season. We have a good team here. We have high expectations for ourselves as a team. We expect to win games."

With only one win in seven games, the Celtics, who are rebuilding for the future, now have the second-worst pre-season record in the NBA.

They enter the season with neither Paul Pierce nor Kevin Garnett, who were traded to the Brooklyn Nets in a franchise-altering off-season deal.

Point guard Rajon Rondo, who played with Pierce and Garnett for six years prior to the trade, missed Sunday's game with a knee injury. Rondo underwent surgery in February to repair a torn knee ligament, and hasn't played since.

Toronto-born rookie forward Kelly Olynyk had four points for the Celtics on 2-for-4 shooting in 19 minutes of playing time.

"It's fun. It's an honour to play in front of your country. It's a special feeling," he said

The seven-foot 22-year-old was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks this year, and was at once traded to Boston.

The game was held in Montreal as part of the 2013 NBA Canada series.

The Celtics' first game of the season is against Toronto at Air Canada Centre on Oct. 30.

The Timberwolves open their season at home against Orlando on the same night.

Kevin Love (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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