The Timberwolves made Boston work for it Wednesday, giving the reigning Eastern Conference champs all they could handle in a 104-102 Celtics victory, one the C’s desperately needed after falling to the Rockets in embarrassing fashion two nights earlier. Despite an off shooting night (4-for-16 including 0-for-8 from beyond the arc), Jayson Tatum came through when the Celtics needed him most, securing a loose ball before sinking three of four free throws (Anthony Edwards and Kyle Anderson were both assessed technicals) to put Boston up five with 1.1 seconds remaining.
After calling a timeout to advance the ball to midcourt, Wolves vet Mike Conley pulled up from 25 feet, cutting the final margin to two with his buzzer three. Though Boston still left ‘Sota with the W, Conley’s late jumper was catastrophic for anyone who bet the spread at -4.
Everyone, at some point in their sports wagering career, will experience the sheer horror of a backdoor cover, though Conley’s dagger was an especially cruel twist of fate, the betting equivalent of Lucy pulling the football from Charlie Brown. That’s a horrifically bad beat, though Wednesday’s heartbreak likely won’t discourage bettors from blowing their life savings on March Madness, which is traditionally one of Vegas’ busiest weekends with millions upon millions wagered on the outcome of college basketball’s marquee event.
As for the Celtics, they’ll get a breather Thursday before continuing their West Coast swing Friday night at Portland, facing a Trail Blazers team they beat by 22 a week ago at TD Garden. With just 12 games remaining on their regular season slate, the Celtics are running out of time to catch Milwaukee, trailing the Bucks by 2.5 games for the Eastern Conference’s top seed and homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs.
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