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The Boston Celtics entered the Garden tonight and shot the lights out in a 124-118 victory over the Denver Nuggets. It was the Cs' best shooting night of the year, as the team hit 59% of their shots. It was the most points that they've scored in a game all season, as well. All in all, it was a good night of Celtics' basketball.

Kyrie Irving returned to the lineup after missing Monday night's blowout loss to the Chicago Bulls with a quad injury, and unfortunately for the viewers at home, two of the NBA's better play making big-men, Al Horford and Nikola Jokić, both missed the game, but for varying reasons. Jokić has missed the past six games with an ankle injury. As for Horford, he was just taking a rest in preparation for the remainder of the team's busy month
Both teams came out shooting. The Nuggets hit six of their first six shots in the first quarter, and the teams combined for 47 field-goal attempts. The Celtics shot 55% from he field, going 11-20, and the Nuggets shot at a 48% clip, hitting 13 of their 27 shots. The Cs went on a 9-0 run to end the first.

At the end of the quarter, the Nuggets led by one point with a score of 31-30. Kyrie headed the Cs in the first with 10 points and 3 assists.

Everyone seemed to be hitting in the first half, and I mean everybody. Jaylen Brown went 4-5, Jayson Tatum drained all of his four shots, Aron Baynes went 6-7, Kyrie hit 5 of his 9 attempts, and Shane Larkin went a perfect 4-4. The team shot 62% in the first twenty-four minutes of play, behind an unusually small lineup of Larkin, Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Tatum, and Baynes.


The Celtics, a team who usually struggles in the second period, thrived before the half. They put up 38 points in the second quarter, and had some ridiculous efficiency ratings. At the end of the half, the Cs led by nine, 68-59.


The third quarter, however, didn't go as well as the previous one. In the middle of the quarter, the Nuggets went on a 13-2 run that lasted almost four minutes long, and the rebounding deficit grew. At the end of the third, the Nuggets were out-rebounding the Cs 36-23, and had 11 more grabs off of the offensive glass.
Gary Harris had a career-high 36 points tonight, and consistently took the Cs to the paint. Wilson Chandler and Jamal Murray took the same approach, and ended up at the line a combined 13 times. Murray would finish with 28 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists. Chandler would collect 14 points.
With the amount of points scored in this game, it seemed like the Jumbotron was malfunctioning. The score at the end of the third quarter was 97-92! That's a score that you'd regularly see on a post-game show!

The Celtics were led by Jaylen's 8-for-10 shooting in the first three quarters, as he tallied his seventh 20+ point game of the season. He'd finish with 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting.

Aron Baynes also continued to shoot the lights out in the third, as he had 15 points off of 7-for-9 shooting at the end of the quarter. Baynes has a history of playing well versus Denver. In his six NBA seasons, Aron has faced the Nuggets twelve times (including tonight's game). He has won nine of those games and has shot 71% from the field. Baynes would finish with 17 points and 6 rebounds.

Kyrie has also seen success against the Nuggets:


When Shane Larkin plays, good things happen! Larkin didn't log a minute of play in the third, but when he re-entered the game in the fourth, he continued right where he left off in the second. He finished the game perfect, going 6-of-6 from the field, 2-of-2 from deep, and as Tommy Heinsohn noted, "he was a momentum maker!" Larkin finished with 14 points in 17 minutes of action.
So many Celtics' players played well tonight, that I feel like I left a few out, who were also key factors in tonight's victory.

As per usual, Kyrie had a great game. He finished with 33 points and 7 assists, and was caught dangling on more than one occasion:


Jayson Tatum continues to excite, and played much better tonight than he did against Chicago on Monday. He finished with 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists. He hit shots from all over the court tonight. He made jumpers, he slammed the ball, and he scored a few with his signature reaching layup.

I think we've seen something like this from Marcus Smart before:

The Celtics won the game by six points, 124-118, making it their 24th victory of the season, which leads the NBA.

Bonus footage:

Yabu was back to dabbing in pregame warmups:
Brad Stevens: the best type of corny:
And Antoine Walker sat court side, looking more like Shaq nowadays:

The Celtics will face Gordon Hayward's old team, the Utah Jazz on Friday. Speaking of GH, he's officially out of the boot!

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Photo: NBC Sports

Sean Waukewan 12/13/2017 10:18:00 PM Edit
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