Celtics begin post-Rondo era vs. Timberwolves

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(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Timberwolves know a lot about shipping their top player away in an effort to rebuild the team.

And so do the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics made news off the parquet floor by dealing point guard and assist machine Rajon Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks and will begin life without the facilitator Friday versus the Minnesota Timberwolves.

On Thursday, Rondo joined forces with Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis and Chandler Parsons in Dallas in exchange for guard Jameer Nelson, forward Jae Crowder, forward/center Brandan Wright, a conditional first round draft pick, a 2016 second round draft pick and a $12.9 million trade exception.

Forward Dwight Powell was also sent to the Mavericks.

"We would like to thank Rajon for everything that he has done for the Celtics organization and the success we have experienced during his tenure with us," Danny Ainge, Celtics President of Basketball Operations, said in a statement.

Rondo takes an NBA-leading 10.8 assists per game to the Lone Star State and is also averaging 8.3 points and 7.5 rebounds. He won't have to worry about scoring with the Mavericks; just make sure to get the ball inside and on the wing. Mavs center Tyson Chandler should benefit with Rondo running the floor, but chemistry will be the most important ingredient.

The Celtics have won two in a row and five of their last eight games, and are clearly stock piling draft picks for down the road. It will be a long building process for Boston and its fans, who witnessed a 109-92 triumph over the Orlando Magic Wednesday at TD Garden.

Jeff Green, who could be on the trade block next, and Jared Sullinger scored 16 points apiece. Brandon Bass led the Celtics with 18 points off the bench and they shot 55 percent from the field.

Boston scored 31 points in the fourth quarter and held Orlando to 19.

"We've done a pretty good job this month of playing in the fourth quarter," said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. "I thought we played well after the middle of the second quarter on."

After hosting the Timberwolves, Boston will visit the Sunshine State to take on Miami and Orlando.

The Celtics are 6-8 at TD Garden this season and rookie guard Marcus Smart (Achilles) is listed as questionable Friday.

Minnesota said sayonara to Kevin Love this offseason in a deal with Cleveland in hopes of revamping the franchise from scratch. Thaddeus Young came over from Philadelphia in that trade and posted 29 points in Tuesday's 109-95 loss to the Washington Wizards.

No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins recorded just nine points, while Shabazz Muhammad scored 21 for the T-wolves, who have lost three in a row and nine of 10 games to fall to 5-19 on the season.

"We just don't have enough firepower," Wolves coach Flip Saunders said after his team's fourth consecutive loss on the road.

Saunders is still without Kevin Martin (wrist), Ricky Rubio (ankle) and Nikola Pekovic (wrist/ankle), and now Mo Williams (back) and Anthony Bennett (blister on foot) are questionable Friday. Bennett came over from Cleveland.

The Wolves are 2-9 on the road and in the midst of playing six of seven games away from home. They will play the first of two games against Boston this season and are scheduled to host the Celtics Jan. 28.

Minnesota and Boston split two meetings last season. The Timberwolves have lost eight in a row in Beantown.