The Boston Celtics quite literally kicked one away, as they closed a homestand with 114-105 loss to the Denver Nuggets. Boston was very sloppy down the stretch on both offense and defense and it cost them a chance at a victory.
The loss spoiled an emotional Boston reunion for Isaiah Thomas, who received two standing ovations during the game. The first came when the Celtics ran a video tribute to Thomas during the game’s first timeout. The second came when Thomas, who has been out of the Denver rotation, check in late in the first quarter.
For the game, the Celtics turned the ball over 12 times, with many of them coming in the fourth quarter. Boston also allowed Denver to grab 11 offensive rebounds. With the Celtics hitting less than 42 percent of their shots, that was too much to overcome against one of the NBA’s best teams.
Kyrie Irving led the way for the Celtics with 30 points, including 20 in the second half. Al Horford scored 20, while grabbing six rebounds and handing out six assists.
Boston once again missed Gordon Hayward, who was out while in the NBA’s concussion protocol. The second unit struggled to make plays without Hayward, as they did after he left Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks.
Seven Nuggets scored in double-figures, led by Nikola Jokic’s 21 points. Jokic hit back-to-back big three-pointers in the fourth quarter, as Denver took control of the game.
In many ways, the story of the game was one sequence late in the third quarter. With a two-point lead and holding a timeout that was going to expire. Brad Stevens called a stoppage to draw up an end of quarter play. Marcus Morris threw the ball away from underneath his own basket. That gave Denver a shot to get a good look. And a good look they got, as Torrey Craig beat Jaylen Brown backdoor for dunk to tie the game at 80 as the third quarter came to an end.
An 11-0 Denver run then gave the Nuggets control of the game in the fourth, as Boston dropped to 6-3 in the month of March. Boston will play next on the road at the Philadelphia 76ers, who currently sport a two-and-a-half game lead over Boston in the Eastern Conference.
GARDEN REPORT GAME RECAP: