Everything you need to know about Boston's 105-87 win over the Denver Nuggets, with BSJ insight and analysis
What a win! The Celtics did not look good at all early on. The early start seemed to be messing with them. Nikola Jokic looked like the MVP candidate that he is. The Celtics did a good job hanging around for most of the game, but the Nuggets were the hottest team in basketball and Jokic’s third-quarter run felt like a good team imposing their will on an okay team. Then things changed.
“We needed something to get us going, and we were close to going the other way there when it was 76-62,” Brad Stevens said. “But we stayed the course. The defense, as far as the individuals and their effort and physicality and toughness, coupled with that spurt that (Jaylen Brown) and Kemba (Walker) put on at the end of the third, and I left them in. I just felt that group needed to play longer. That was a lot of Kemba and JB in altitude. So be it.”
Attacking works! The Celtics were 19-26 in the restricted area, taking advantage of a team not known for its rim protection. Walker, Brown, and Tatum all made it a point to get to the rim. In the first half, Boston took 11 shots at the rim and 17 3-pointers. In the second half, They took 15 shots at the rim, and 16 3-pointers. In the fourth quarter, they took 8 shots at the rim, and 6 3’s.
And about that defense: The 8 points Denver scored in the fourth quarter matched the Celtics' record for fewest points allowed in any fourth quarter of the shot clock era (8 pts, Nov. 22, 1993 vs. Indiana).
“I think we were up 14 toward the end of the third quarter and we probably had four straight turnovers,” Denver head coach Michael Malone said. “That just kind of ignited them.”
The Celtics went on a 31-3 run to end the game.