Denver's 8-1 start to the season is no fluke - solid test for Celtics tonight

The Denver Nuggets are off to their best start since 1976-77 with an 8-1 record. They have one of the top centers in the League, play tough defense and rebound the ball very efficiently. They are for real.

For the Nuggets, it all starts with do-everything center, Nikola Jokic. He is third on the team in minutes (30 MPG) and second in points (18.0 PPG), but he can contribute to a win with single-digit points. Case in point - Jokic notched 16 assists and 10 boards in a victory over Utah on Saturday, while only scoring seven points. He leads his team in rebounds, assists and steals.

Gary Harris is the leading scorer with 18.9 PPG, but he also adds other dimensions with 5.9 RPG and 3.2 APG. Will Barton puts in 16.5 PPG, and shoots the ball with unbelievable accuracy with 57/56/100 percentages from the field, 3-point line and foul line, respectively.

Senior citizen Paul Millsap hangs in there with averages of 13 PPG and 7.4 RPG. Speaking of rebounds, the Nuggets are rated fourth in the NBA, taking down 48.8 RPG at the top rebound percentage of 54.3%. Oh - and by the way - they are no slouch on defense. They are rated third in Defensive Rating behind the Celtics (1st) and Bucks (2nd). And to add to the threat for Boston, Denver is deep - with 11 players going for more than 17 minutes per game.

Brad Stevens answer to this genuine threat may be to go small. It seemed to work well on this sequence where Isaiah Thomas' son bamboozled Jokic for a score.

With Denver's defensive strength in mind, readers may want to join my CelticsLife Race-to-the-Title contest. Click on the link and give us your estimate for the largest combined total of points, rebounds and assists by a Celtic against the Nuggets tonight. As others have found, it is a great way to become more immersed in the game and the season.

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Photo via Garrett Elwood/NBA