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Denver Ends Boston’s Hopes of a Road Trip Sweep

Before the game, a card was made available for all to sign for Nuggets coach George Karl and his recovery from throat cancer. (Garrett Ellwood, Getty Images)

The Celtics are a team of spurts, and Sunday was no different, as the Celtics fell to the Nuggets 114-105. Things just went from bad to worse for Boston, with the Nuggets getting second chance rebounds and stops on the defensive end, and not letting Boston do much of anything. They took a 17-8 lead in quick order, and only extended it, leading by 20 before ending the 1st quarter at 37-19; four Celtic turnovers and several other should-be turnovers contributed to Boston’s worst defensive quarter of the season.

The teams swapped places, with the Celtics suddenly playing better defense, blocking several shots (they had 12 on the day) and scoring more in the paint to cut the lead to single digits, but the Nuggets kept it there, until the 3rd quarter. Then, Boston tied the game at 66, at which point Denver got things together and never looked back.

Boston surrendered six straight points after tying the game, and was unable to put together another meaningful run. The Celtics bobbled several should-be rebounds that went to the Nuggets, made bad passes, and showed more lapses on defense. The Nuggets kept them at bay by heating up from beyond the arc while keeping up on defense, and running down the clock where need be.

After three surprising games to start the West Coast road trip, Boston finished 3-1, after never having lead against Denver. Boston only managed three ties in the game, and one of those was 2-2 in the 1st. They’ll need to hope Nate Robinson will help them play more consistently if they have any hope of winning an 18th title.

C’s Stud of the Game: Ray Allen

It seems Doc Rivers’ strategy of telling Allen he’ll be traded before each game is paying off. Allen led the Celtics in scoring, free throws, and had both of the Celtics’ made three pointers on the day.

C’s Dud of the Game: Paul Pierce

Usually, Pierce is right up there from the top performers. This time, he was held to only five points, with two coming on the Celtics’ first play and the other three (a bucket and one of two on a later foul) in the 4th.

That’s What He Said:

“There was the Birdman … he should fly away.” – An upset Tommy Heinsohn reviewing replays of Chris Andersen.

Game Notes:

  • Scoring Leaders: Chauncey Billups (DEN 26), Ray Allen (BOS 25), Carmelo Anthony (DEN 23)
  • Field Goal Leaders: Ray Allen (BOS 9/14), seven others with seven
  • Three Point Leaders: J.R. Smith (DEN 5/11), Chauncey Billups (DEN 2/4), Ray Allen (BOS 2/5)
  • Free Throw Leaders: Chauncey Billups (DEN 10/10), Carmelo Anthony (DEN 8/9), Ray Allen (BOS 5/5)
  • Rebound Leaders: Nene (DEN 10), Kenyon Martin (DEN 10), Glen Davis (BOS 7)
  • Assist Leaders: Rajon Rondo (BOS 11), Carmelo Anthony (DEN 8), Chauncey Billups (DEN 7)
  • Steal Leaders: Five with two
  • Block Leaders: Paul Pierce (BOS 4), Chris Andersen (DEN 4), Arron Afflalo (DEN 2), Kevin Garnett (BOS 2)
  • Turnovers: BOS 14, DEN 14
  • Foul-outs: None
  • Technical Fouls: George Karl (DEN 2:51 left in 2nd)
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