Celtics book playoff berth, Warriors rally
LOS ANGELES – Agence France-Presse
The Boston Celtics shook off a scary fall for swingman Jaylen Brown to punch their ticket to the NBA playoffs with a 117-109 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 8.
Kyrie Irving, back from a one-game absence with a sore knee, scored 23 points with eight assists and seven rebounds and Al Horford added 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists as the Celtics won for the sixth time in seven games.
They remained two games behind Eastern Conference leaders Toronto - who booked their playoff berth on March 7.
The Celtics led by as many as 18 points early in the third quarter. But they got a jolt with 1:31 left in the period when Brown drove for a dunk and upon letting go of the rim fell hard on his shoulders, neck and head.
He lay on the court for several minutes as medical staff attended to him and the Timberwolves’ Target Center arena went quiet.He lay on the court for several minutes as medical staff attended to him and the Timberwolves’ Target Center arena went quiet.
When he finally rose from the floor - passing on the stretcher that had been rolled out - fans stood and cheered.“I was right there,”
Horford said of Brown’s fall. “It was tough to see. I was just happy he was able to get up and walk off because that was one of the worst falls I’ve seen.”
Teammate Marcus Smart said he was “terrified” when he saw Brown fall.
But Celtics coach Brad Stevens said after the game that Brown “felt pretty good” as he left the arena for a CT scan in hospital. Brown was able to travel with the team back to Boston.
Leading 86-74 after three quarters, the Celtics managed to repel the Timberwolves’ rally bid.
Minnesota pulled within five points at 88-83 with 9:12 left in the fourth, but would get no closer. Nemanja Bjelica led the Timberwolves with a career-high 30 points, including six of nine from the three-point range. He added 12 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough for a Timberwolves team without injured All-Star Jimmy Butler.
In Oakland, Kevin Durant scored 37 points and Draymond Green notched a triple-double of 11 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists as the Golden State Warriors shook off the early exit of Stephen Curry with an ankle injury to beat the San Antonio Spurs 110-107.
Curry turned his right ankle after a drive to the basket early in the first quarter and didn’t return. The Warriors said only that Curry “tweaked” the ankle, the same one he sprained on December 4, leading to a total of 13 missed games.