The Celtics have done an estimable job of playing through the obstacles tossed into their 2012-13 path. But to think they were going to beat anyone —even Minnesota — without their top three scorers?

Don’t be April foolish.

The Timberwolves might have come into the evening 111⁄2 games worse than the Celts — but not the Celts who took the floor against them here. The Shamrocks fell to 0-1 on the season when playing without Paul Pierce (personal reasons), Kevin Garnett (foot, ankle) and Rajon Rondo (ACL), dropping a 110-100 decision without their All-Stars.

Needing big minutes from three players who weren’t even on their team at the start of February, the Celtics had no more than a slim shot, which they missed.

They weren’t so much running an offense as they were stepping out and performing a series of solos. And (shocker) it didn’t work.

Without the 47.4 combined points of Pierce, Garnett and Rondo, perhaps it couldn’t. And victory is not going to be an option when Nikola Pekovic is bulling his way through your interior defense for 29 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the floor and 11-of-11 from the line. His effort was part of the Timberwolves’ 62-38 edge in paint points.

“I go in every game thinking we’re going to win the game,” Celts coach Doc Rivers said. “We had chances tonight, but I get it, too. Again, I just want us to play the right way and do things our way.

“I thought we played pretty hard. We had no one that could deal with that big monster they had down there (Pekovic). I was kidding with (assistant coach Mike Longabardi). I thought he made a great adjustment. (We) held him to eight points in the second half . . . after he had 21 in the first.”

Rivers had said before the game that his lads couldn’t try to outscore the Wolves, so he had in his hopeful mind a game in the high 80s or low 90s.

Noting that his team has allowed triple digits now in six of its past seven games, Rivers said, “We’ve proven we can score. I mean, we scored 100 tonight even without 50 points of your offense. So we’ll be able to score. If the new guys just learn the little things with our defense . . . we need a lot of work with them. And it showed tonight.”