Gordon Hayward would be one of the greatest players in basketball history if he played all of his games against the Timberwolves.
Hayward scored 35 points on 14-of-18 shooting off the bench to lead the Celtics to a 115-102 win over the Wolves at TD Garden in Boston on Wednesday night.
It's Hayward's second 30-point game this season. The other: at Target Center on Dec. 1 when he scored 30 points on 8-of-16 shooting.
Hayward hasn't topped 19 points in any other game this season, which highlights how great of a scorer he can be while also putting a spotlight on Minnesota's defensive issues.
Hayward was an All-Star in 2017 with the Utah Jazz only to break his ankle in his first game with Boston last season. He sat out the entire year and is still struggling to find his game off the bench.
Terrible first half for the Wolves
Minnesota got off to a putrid start in this one, trailing by 20 points at the half only to respond with energy in a 39-point third quarter.
Karl-Anthony Towns had four points on 1-of-5 shooting in the first half and then exploded for 20 points in the third quarter. But he scored just four points in the fourth. Towns finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, but he was a borderline non-factor for three quarters.
Andrew Wiggins had one of his most efficient offensive performances of the season, scoring 31 points on only 18 shots (9-of-12 free throws) in 43 minutes. He did little else (3 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals), but he shot the bell and played aggressively when he had the ball.
Granted, the Wolves were without Derrick Rose, Jeff Teague and Robert Covington, all of whom are battling ankle injuries, but Boston was without All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving and center Aaron Baynes.
The Wolves (17-21) have lost nine of their last 13 games and are now in 14th place in the Western Conference – four games behind the Spurs for the eighth seed in the playoff race.