After a tremendous quarter the Celtics  are holding an 18-point lead. Interesting that Doc Rivers  found time for Patrick O’Bryant  to start the second quarter. Now is the time to find out what they have with the young 7-footer and while his four minutes weren’t the most brilliant four minutes it was good for him to get some meaningful run.
The Celtics defense has also stepped up after a sleepy opening. They seem to be hitting on all cylinders and it’s huge to keep cranking out wins with the race for the Eastern Conference’s top spot likely going down to the wire.
On to the second half…
THIRD QUARTER WRAP: And we’ve got a ballgame folks. Al Jefferson  lit his old team up scoring 14 of his 30 points and Minnesota is back within 14 points at 87-73. It’s a comfy lead for the Celtics, but it’s not a done deal yet by and stretch.
For the C’s, Paul Pierce  was the man with 14 of his 29. Big Baby also gave the Celtics good minutes, taking two charges and scoring five points.
Third Quarter Observations
— Had a quick cup of coffee with the local chairman of the Bassy Telfair fanclub at halftime. For obvious reasons he shall remain anonymous. At any rate he pointed out that during the pregame intros Craig Smith  got a nice hand, Ryan Gomes  got a nicer hand, Al Jefferson got a standing O and Kevin McHale  got the biggest cheers. Bassy got booed.
We’re in the fourth year of his career and it still remains to be seen if he will ever be an effective NBA player. No doubt he’s playing better than he has at other points in his career but his game remains a serious work in progress. Would a year or two playing for Rick Pitino  have made a difference? It may have, but at this point he’s looking at a Marcus Banks-esque career.
— This is gut-check time for the Wolves, and don’t you just hate cheap sportswriting cliches? They’ve got it down to a dozen and there’s still 18 minutes or so left in this one. Big Al has gone for 24 and seven on 10-for-13 shooting but the defensive presence just isn’t there at the other end. A solid NBA team would look at the next few minutes as an opportunity to get into position to try and steal one. Will the Wolves?
— For the Celtics, this is Pierce time. The Captain has been able to get essentially what he wants this afternoon and now would be a good time for him to re-establish control.
— The Celtics are a little out of sorts offensively. They tried to go into Pierce (who has Randy Foye on him) but Minny is doubling him at all times. Somebody’s got to make a shot.
— Still a lot of contact going on out there. Still, not a lot of calls. Consistency is good, so long as its stays that with through crunch time. (If there is a crunch time today).
— Pierce is carrying the Celtics.