Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 91, Nuggets 98

Ford Keys to the Game

Celtics 91, Nuggets 98

Game Highlights

Photo of the Game

Rajon Rondo, Ty Lawson

Rajon Rondo posts up Ty Lawson and surveys the floor during Saturday night's game in Denver.
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty

Key Moment

The Boston Celtics started out tonight’s game against the Denver Nuggets in sluggish fashion. That type of play carried through for the majority of the first four quarters of the game. However, Boston caught its groove in the final period and made a run at stealing a big win in the high skies of Denver.

The Nuggets led by as many as 14 points in the fourth quarter but a strong spurt at both ends of the floor fueled a quick comeback for Boston. The Celtics held Denver scoreless for a stretch of three minutes and 44 seconds in the fourth quarter while Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce helped Boston score 10 straight points.

The fun began to disappear for Boston shortly thereafter when Pierce fouled out of the game with 3:51 remaining. Even without its captain, though, Boston made this a one-possession game when Garnett hit two free throws with 1:27 remaining, leaving the score at 94-91.

After forcing Denver into a missed layup at the other end, the C’s had an opportunity to cut the deficit down to one or tie the game in the final minute of regulation.

Boston got exactly what it wanted on its ensuing possession: an open look from behind the 3-point arc for the greatest 3-point shooter in NBA history. Rajon Rondo waited at the top of the key as Ray Allen came off of a Kevin Garnett screen and made his way to the left wing. Rondo dropped a pass off to Allen and the shooting guard fired up a shot with his defender draped all over him.

Allen had missed his first five attempts from downtown and this one was no different. The shot missed off the front end of the rim and Kenneth Faried pulled in the rebound, his 16th of the game. Denver went on to make four consecutive free throws to seal the game.

Boston trailed for nearly the entire game and was missing its captain down the stretch but still had an opportunity to tie this one up in the final minute. It failed to do so when Allen missed his sixth 3-point attempt of the night, and the Nuggets went on to hand the Celtics their second loss in as many nights.

Key Box Score Line

Two Celtics scored 22 points and Rajon Rondo dished out 16 assists, but the man of the night was Denver’s rookie out of Morehead State, Kenneth Faried.

Faried dominated the game in Anderson Varejao-like fashion. His hustle, energy and ability to finish in the paint helped him to 18 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. Those numbers sound pretty darn good, but they don’t tell half of the story.

The 6-foot-8 forward was perfect – literally – shooting the ball tonight. He made all five of his field goal attempts and knocked down all eight of his free throw attempts en route to his 18 points. In addition to the perfect shooting, six of his 16 rebounds came at the offensive end of the floor.

Faried, much like Brandon Bass of the Celtics, is undersized down low, but he has a motor that not many players can match. That motor led him to a career-best game tonight and helped the Nuggets grab their 25th win of the season.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, with 22 points apiece, tied for the game high in scoring.
  • Both teams' turnovers led to 20 points for their opponent.
  • Denver won the first two quarters and Boston won the final two quarters.
  • Kenneth Faried scored 18 points and grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds.
  • Faried's six offensive rebounds were two more than the entire Celtics team grabbed.
  • Boston was outrebounded by a count of 46-27.
  • Ray Allen and Brandon Bass combined to score 13 points in the game.
  • Avery Bradley and Marquis Daniels scored eight points apiece off the bench for Boston.
  • Rajon Rondo dished out a game-high 16 assists but also committed six turnovers.
  • Danilo Gallinari led the Nuggets in scoring with 20 points.
  • Boston outshot Denver from the field (47.4 percent to 45.9 percent) and from the free-throw line (94.1 percent to 74.2 percent) but still lost .
  • Greg Stiemsma blocked three shots for the second consecutive game.
  • Denver outscored Boston in second-chance points (20-4) and fast-break points (21-6).

Quote of the Night

Paul Pierce on previously stating that the Celtics were outworked by the Nuggets: "I hate for it even to come out of my mouth. I pride myself on a lot of hard work and instilling it in this team. For me to come in here and say that’s what happened tonight hurts for me to even say that. It wasn’t about x’s and o’s it was just about pride and effort."