The Celtics snapped a two-game losing streak on Tuesday night at TD Garden. Comfortably handling a depleted Denver Nuggets team despite a monster performance from Nikola Jokic.
With the Nuggets missing several starters, the Celtics took advantage of Denver’s weak second unit whenever Jokic rested. Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker led the way with efficient offensive nights in a game Jayson Tatum was frequently off-target.
Nikola Jokic was brilliant for Denver and single-handedly kept the Nuggets within rangeฺ. But the Celtics used a decisive late run in the third quarter to open a double-digit lead.
Celtics unable to stop Nikola Jokic.
The Nuggets came to TD Garden short-handed, with three regular starters out due to injury. Which meant the vast majority of the offense guaranteed to come from the duo of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray – and the Celtics had no answer for the Serbian All-Star.
When Jokic sat down for the first time with under two minutes left in the first quarter. He was a perfect 6-for-6 from the field with 15 points, and seemed to effortlessly overmatch Tristan Thompson in the post.
Scored 29 points in the first half, the most by an opposing player in TD Garden since Allen Iverson scored 27 in 2002.
He cooled off in the second, but still finished with 43 points on 16-of-23 shooting, with six rebounds and five assists. Fortunately for Boston, the depleted Nuggets second unit couldn’t hang around when Jokic was off the floor.
Jaylen Brown breaks open game with clutch shooting. The Celtics led by as many as 13 in the first half, but Jamal Murray got hot from outside the arc to start the third and Jokic tied the game at 71-71.
Jaylen Brown drained back-to-back threes and sparked a 15-4 run over the final four minutes of the quarter. Put the Celtics back in control UFA.
Brown finished the game with 27 points, five rebounds and five assists on 11-for-20 shooting, and an ugly seven turnovers.
The Celtics’ bench also had an efficient night, as Aaron Nesmith, Robert Williams. Payton Pritchard and Javonte Green combined to score 30 points on just 17 shots.