One of the biggest plays down the fourth-quarter stretch last night was Delonte West's ability to yank an offensive rebound away from three Timberwolves with 28 seconds left.

Paul Pierce got fouled on the extended possession and hit both free throws for a 83-78 lead in the Celts' eventual 85-82 victory.

As a result, West's stock continues to soar since his return, despite a painful bone chip in his right ankle.

"His ability to compete is higher than anybody I've been around for a while," Kevin Garnett said. "He's going to compete for 48 minutes. It's never going to be an easy night with him on the floor."

West started in place of Rajon Rondo, who reaggravated a right pinkie injury in practice Saturday and sat out last night's game. West finished with eight points, five assists, two steals and three rebounds in 31 minutes.

"He was terrific, especially early on," coach Doc Rivers said. "He set the tone for us, especially early. He's so tough. I don't know how you describe his game. I don't know what he does great. He's just a helluva player to have on your team, because he's going to help you win a game. I'm not concerned about his minutes, I'm just concerned about his health because he's a kamikaze. He's going to dive in the stands, he's going to run someone over."

Rondo, meanwhile, is questionable for tonight's game against the Pacers in Indianapolis.