7 p.m. vs. Celtics at Target Center • FSN, 830-AM
Defense is on the uptick
Wolves update: Over their past eight games, the Wolves have the No. 1 defensive rating in the NBA at 98.6 points per 100 possessions. They’re one of two teams holding opponents to less than one point per possession over that stretch. They are also 10th in defensive rebounding percentage since Robert Covington and Dario Saric joined the lineup. … Over his past six games, guard Derrick Rose has hit 60 percent of his shots and 52 percent of his three-pointers. … Since shooting 1-for-18 against Chicago on Nov. 24, Robert Covington has made 16 of 27 shots. Andrew Wiggins, who went 0-for-12 against the Bulls, has made seven of 26 shots since that game and is 11-for-52 overall in four games — all Wolves victories.
Celtics update: After taking the Cavaliers to seven games in the Eastern Conference finals a season ago, the Celtics were expected to contend for the top seed this season. But they were 11-10 and tied for sixth in the conference entering Friday. Gordon Hayward has struggled in his comeback from a fractured ankle he suffered on opening night last season. Hayward is averaging 10.1 points per game and shooting 40 percent from the field. In his last healthy season before the injury, he averaged 21.9 points and shot 47 percent for Utah. … Guard Kyrie Irving played in only 60 games last season and missed the playoffs but is averaging 22 points per game this season.