The Boston Celtics fly into the Mile-High City to face the Denver Nuggets (29-35). This marks the final stop of the C's five-game West Coast road trip. The last time these two teams faced off, the Nuggets got the better of the matchup, winning 123-107. Emmanuel Mudiay went off for a career-high 30 points, as he and his Denver teammates embarrassed the Celtics in the Garden. Mudiay has since then struggled and played himself out of the starting lineup, now the main focus will be on containing the emerging young star, Nikola Jokic. The 22-year old Jokic can do just about anything you could want from a 7-footer, presenting a tough task for coach Brad Stevens.
Nuggets 18-14 when they start together, 11-21 when they don't.— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) March 11, 2017
(It's not a Brandin Cooks trade but it's all we've got here) https://t.co/MJi8cZchJa
Denver came out of the gate fast, giving themselves a quick 9-2 lead. The Celtics struggled to really get anything going offensively or defensively. After a quick timeout by Stevens, the Celtics were then able to find some rhythm and settle down a bit. Boston's second unit entered the game down six, 24-18.
Nikola Jokic has 6 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in the opening 9 minutes. He's yet to miss a shot.— Michael Pina (@MichaelVPina) March 11, 2017
Along with Jokic's nice start to the game, Wilson Chandler had a 14-point first quarter, while the Nuggets as a whole shot 56% from the floor. The last time these two teams faced off, the Nuggets scored 42 points in the opening quarter, tonight Denver totaled 35 to start the game.
It's 35-25, Nuggets over the Celtics, after the first quarter in Denver. Avery Bradley's seven points lead seven C's who have scored.— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 11, 2017
Lol. Celtics botched another 2-for-1 opportunity at the end of the first quarter. https://t.co/JxbP0EaUrE— Jay King (@ByJayKing) March 11, 2017
The second quarter was much of the same, Denver could not miss from beyond the three-point line. As a team they shot over 50% from behind the arc, giving themselves a comfortable 14-point lead over the C's. So far, the Nuggets ball movement has been to much for the Celtics defense, dishing out 12 assists on 16 made baskets.
The Celtics continued to struggle to keep up with Denver's pace, finding themselves now down by as much as twenty at one point in the second. Boston was able to somewhat come back from this deficit, cutting the lead to ten points.
Let's go Celtics chants now from the section of Boston fans and the rest of the building erupts with boos.— Jay King (@ByJayKing) March 11, 2017
How do we say this? Defense hasn't exactly been a strength so far in Denver - for either team. The Nuggets lead the Celtics 65-54 at half. pic.twitter.com/EkzB76lEx5— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 11, 2017
At the half, four of Denver's players are already in double figures as Boston cannot find a way to disrupt the Nuggets offense. The Celtics are lucky to only be down eleven with the way their opponent is shooting tonight. Isaiah Thomas has been held to only 7 points on six total shots, getting him involved in the second half needs to be a focal point along with getting stops.
The Celtics start the second half with the IT-and-D lineup that has been bad all year but might work against these small, skilled Nuggets.— Jay King (@ByJayKing) March 11, 2017
Things started getting a little chippy in the third quarter, both Wilson Chandler and Marcus Smart were given a questionable double-technical. Then almost immediately after, coach Mike Malone was assessed a tech as well. The Celtics were able to use this to create some momentum for themselves, bringing down the lead to eight.
Twelve points for IT over the first seven minutes of the third quarter.— Jay King (@ByJayKing) March 11, 2017
The C's have made a major dent in Denver's lead thanks to teamwork like this: pic.twitter.com/4psC7MWK2x— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 11, 2017
Even with their best quarter of the game, Denver still finished the third with a 14-point lead. Going into the final quarter of play, the C's are going to have a tough time getting back into this game.
The Celtics trail the Nuggets 94-80 after three quarters. Five C's are in double-figures, led by IT's 19, but Denver is shooting 51.4%.— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 11, 2017
The fourth quarter started off poorly, then out of nowhere Marcus Smart made a few of his famous, "winning plays" by stripping Hernagomez after a defensive rebound and getting a quick two. Smart followed this with a nice assist to a cutting Jaylen Brown for an and-one finish.
Jaylen with the fancy finish! pic.twitter.com/eHNKjju2qI— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 11, 2017
After bringing the lead down to nine, Denver continued to hit their shots giving them a 15-point advantage once again. Just about nothing really seemed to be going the C's way tonight. The combination of poor officiating down the stretch and missed opportunities really hurt the Celtics.
Player of the Game: Nikola Jokic (21pts-10rebs-7asts-4stls)
Photo Credit: Brain Babineau
Spencer Tawes 3/10/2017 11:24:00 PM Tweet Edit