Rajon Rondo returned in style from a two-game suspension with 17 points and 11 assists while Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce led all five starters in double figures with 18 points as the Celtics beat the Timberwolves, 104-94, Wednesday night at TD Garden. After watching his 37-game double-digit assist streak end one week ago in a shoving match with the Nets, Rondo started another streak with a double-double effort. Garnett had 10 rebounds for a double-double.
Jason Terry added 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor while Brandon Bass added 12 points and eight rebounds. The Celtics outrebounded one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA, 45-41, on the night.
The Celtics overcame 19 points and 13 rebounds from Kevin Love to post their fourth win in six games. Love, in just his eighth game back from a broken knuckle on his right hand, helped the Celtics cause by doing his best Dwight Howard impersonation at the free throw line, converting just 6-of-12 free throws. The Wolves as a team converted just 13-of-28 from the line.
Rondo got off to a fast start, putting up six assists in the first quarter as the Celtics raced out to a 21-15 lead. But Minnesota closed the first quarter on a 15-6 run and took a 30-27 lead after one.
The pattern repeated itself in the second quarter as the Celtics opened on a 12-2 run to open a 39-32 lead only to see Minnesota fight back and outscore the Celtics 9-2 in the final three minutes of the first half, as the Wolves took a 51-47 lead to the halftime break.
The Celtics made 14 of 21 shots in the third quarter and outscored the Wolves, 32-21, to take a 79-72 lead into the fourth. The Celtics went on a 9-2 run early in the fourth quarter to build the lead to 14, 91-77, and were not threatened after that.
Former Northeastern star Jose Barea had 10 points in 23 minutes off the bench for the Wolves.
Leandro Barbosa dressed but did not play, still fighting the effects of flu-like symptoms. The Celtics are off Thursday before opening a home-and-home series with the Sixers in Philadelphia Friday night. They play the Sixers in a rare Saturday night game at TD Garden. For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics  and the Green Street  blog.