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December 17, 2013

Sullinger delivers in Celtics' victory

Love outplayed down the stretch

BOSTON (AP) — Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens suggested to forward Jared Sullinger that he might want to keep an eye on Kevin Love and try to learn whatever he could from the Timberwolves big man.

For one quarter last night, Sullinger schooled the Minnesota all-star.

Sullinger had 15 points and six rebounds in the fourth, hitting a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 2:22 left and the Celtics held on to beat the Timberwolves 101-97.

Sullinger, a second-year player who missed half of last season, had 24 points and 11 rebounds in all while adding a career-high five assists.

“He did take it up a notch at the end,” Stevens said of Sullinger, who made one 3-pointer all last season but pulled himself above 30 percent from the arc this season. “He’s a scorer. He’s always been a scorer. He’s been a scorer as long as I’ve known him. It never surprises me when scorers make plays.”

Avery Bradley scored 19 points for the Celtics, who 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.

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.

“We made the right plays and I happened to be the beneficiary,” Sullinger said. “I was just wide open. I passed up a lot of shots in the third quarter when I was wide open.”

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