Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 75, Nuggets 89

Ford Keys to the Game

Celtics 75, Nuggets 89

Game Highlights

Photo of the Game

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce avoids committing a foul as Wilson Chandler bangs home a jumper over his back.
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty

Key Moment

You’d figure that a game that featured 14 lead changes and 11 ties would be a nail biter down the stretch, but that was far from the case tonight in Denver. The shorthanded Celtics battled toe-to-toe with the new-look Nuggets for 42 minutes and actually led by three points with 6:05 remaining in the game. But that’s when the wheels fell off and Boston simply ran out of gas.

Playing with only nine players, one of which was signed to a 10-day contract just hours before tip-off, the C’s were drastically shorthanded for tonight’s contest. It didn’t help Boston’s cause that the Nuggets are now one of the deepest teams in the league after their recent acquisitions.

Four of Boston’s starters played at least 35 minutes during tonight's game, while not a single Denver player was on the floor for more than 32 minutes. That discrepancy in playing time allowed the Nuggets to play with plenty of energy down the stretch, and it was clear that the Celtics just couldn’t keep up.

Paul Pierce’s 3-pointer at the 6:05 mark put Boston ahead 75-72, but as shocking as it sounds, those were the final points the C’s would score in this game. Boston went 0-for-7 for the remainder of the game while Denver hit anything and everything at the other end.

Kenyon Martin and Arron Afflalo sparked the Nuggets down the stretch, as the pair combined for 13 of Denver’s final 16 points. The other three points came from Wilson Chandler, who made his debut with the Nuggets and scored 16 points off of the bench.

Those final 16 points from Denver were all unanswered, taking the Nuggets from a two-point deficit to a 14-point advantage in a matter of just four minutes and 11 seconds. That 16-0 run to close out the game turned this one from a hard-fought battle into a laugher, and there was nothing the C’s could do about it. With limited bodies on an emotional day, Boston simply couldn’t keep up down the stretch and it wound up absorbing its 15th loss of the season.

Key Box Score Line

Five Celtics scored in double-figures during tonight’s loss to the Denver Nuggets, but four of them did so in quiet fashion. There was only one player in a green jersey that stood out as a game-changer tonight, and his name is Kevin Garnett.

Garnett played a phenomenal game at both ends of the court and wound up filling up the stat sheet. He scored 14 points on 7-of-14 shooting and also pulled in a game-high 13 rebounds. In addition to those typical stats, KG also dished out three assists, grabbed two steals and blocked two shots. He was able to do all of that without committing a single foul.

The Celtics were clearly disjointed tonight in their first game after the trade of Kendrick Perkins, but Garnett showed up and carried the team as best he could. He did his part dominating the game at both ends, but in the end it just wasn’t enough to lead his team to victory on the road.

Box Score Nuggets

  • The Celtics attempted two more field goals than the Nuggets but made four less.
  • Denver outrebounded Boston 52-38.
  • In a rare occurrence, the Celtics were outassisted, 22-18.
  • Much of that was due to the fact that Rajon Rondo finished with only eight assists and the C's shot just 39.0 percent from the floor.
  • Paul Pierce led Boston with 17 points.
  • Five Celtics scored in double-figures.
  • Wilson Chandler, in his Denver debut, came off the bench to score 16 points.
  • Kevin Garnett scored 14 points and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.
  • The game featured 14 lead changes and 11 ties.
  • Two Nuggets, Kenyon Martin and Nene, each grabbed 10 rebounds. They both grabbed eight defensive boards and two offensive boards.
  • Martin also scored a game-high 18 points.
  • Delonte West scored 10 points in just his second game back from a broken right wrist.
  • Boston dressed only nine players, including Chris Johnson, who signed a 10-day contract earlier in the night.
  • Johnson scored six points and blocked three shots in his Celtics debut.
  • Denver outscored Boston 34-30 on the fast break.
  • The Nuggets committed 17 fouls and 17 turnovers.

Quote of the Night

Kevin Garnett on playing a game on the day Kendrick Perkins was traded away: "Tough day to play basketball. To even concentrate, just being bluntly honest, its not even about a teammate it is like you lost a family member today. It is a tough day."