BOSTON -- Boston coach Doc Rivers faces Miami three or four times every season in the Eastern Conference, and last spring the two teams played five more times in a first-round playoff series.

So he knows Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley, enough to know not to be surprised by the third-year forward's scoring abilities.

"Offensively, I've been a big believer in him," Rivers said before his Celtics beat the Timberwolves 96-93 on Monday night. "I just think he can score. I said it two years ago: I think one day he may lead the league in scoring. He just knows how to score the ball. He has a Carmelo ability to score the ball."

Beasley scored 19 points, playing only 23 minutes because of foul trouble.

"He's a matchup problem every night," Rivers said. "He's tough for 3s [small forwards] to guard because of his size. He's too quick for 4s [power forwards]. And he can shoot. Obviously that's the key. He has quickness and a shot at that size. That makes him tough to guard."

Inside stuff

A coaches' roundtable discussion featuring Wolves coach Kurt Rambis, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, Wild coach Todd Richards and Gophers' men's basketball coach Tubby Smith aired for the first time on FSN after Monday's game and will be shown again after Thursday's Wild game and Saturday's Wild game.

"It's just interesting when you talk to a hockey coach, talk to a baseball manager and a collegiate basketball coach," Rambis said. "There's a lot of similarities to the things we have to deal with on and off the floor: The personalities with players and the situation and the media that everybody has to deal with."


• Jonny Flynn returned Monday after missing Saturday's victory over New Jersey because of a sprained ankle. He had two assists and no points in 13 minutes. His presence as Luke Ridnour's backup put Sebastian Telfair back on the shelf after he scored eight points in 15 1/2 minutes against the Nets. "No player likes not playing," Rambis said. "We understand that. He's been great about it. After not playing for several games, he came in and did a really good job."

• Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, the NBA's assists leader at 13.5 a game, on Monday played his second game in consecutive nights back from a sprained ankle. Kevin Garnett missed his third consecutive game because of a strained leg muscle but Celtics veteran Paul Pierce played Monday after he turned his ankle Sunday in Toronto.

• Kosta Koufos is wearing a smaller clear plastic mask to protect his broken nose that he much prefers to the bigger one he wore briefly last week. The Wolves backup center wears the mask except for when he shoot free throws. "Then it feels like air conditioning," said Koufos, who was called upon the for a two-minute stint in the second quarter Monday after Darko Milicic and Nikola Pekovic each found foul trouble.