Notebook: Nuggets 97, Celtics 90

Posted Feb 20, 2013 1:24 AM

Michael Kelly, for

THE FACTS: Danilo Gallinari returned to Denver's lineup to score 26 points, Ty Lawson also had 26 points and the Denver Nuggets held off a late rally to beat the Boston Celtics 97-90 on Tuesday night.

Kenneth Faried had seven points and 16 rebounds for Denver, which snapped a three-game skid and improved to 23-3 at home.

Jeff Green and Avery Bradley each had season highs with 20 and 17 points, respectively, for the Celtics, who lost for just the second time in 10 games.

Boston trailed by eight heading into the fourth but made it a game when Bradley hit a corner 3-pointer to tie it at 84. Gallinari answered at the other end with his fourth 3-pointer, giving Denver an 87-84 lead and they never trailed again.

QUOTABLE: "Every crucial possession that we needed a stop we didn't get the stop that we needed and they were able to pull away."

-- Boston forward Paul Pierce

THE STAT: The Celtics led by one at halftime on the strength of some good shooting. They hit 51 percent from the field to take a 50-49 lead at the break. They wilted in the second half, shooting just 36 percent.

TURNING POINT: The Nuggets always try to play fast to take advantage of the thin air in Colorado, and Tuesday it was a big advantage. The older Celtics started to feel the effects of the altitude in the second half as Denver continued to push the pace. Boston missed six of its last seven shots in the game and Kevin Garnett missed two free throws that would have made it a three-point game late.

QUOTABLE III: "It got to us, you could clearly see it. You could see us going downhill a little bit. That's why they play here. George (Karl) is smart, and so is Doug Moe. They know pace in this place is tough."

-- Celtics coach Doc Rivers, on the altitude

HOT: Lawson has found another gear the past four games. He is averaging 27.5 points and shooting 62 percent from the field and 58 percent from 3-point range. He is also averaging 8.2 assists in that span.

QUOTABLE II: "I'm just attacking, not thinking about whether I should shoot or second guessing my shot. Just trusting myself and it's been working out."

-- Lawson

NOT: Nuggets guard Andre Iguodala didn't appear to be fully recovered from the neck strain he suffered against Boston on Feb. 10. He missed all seven of his shots from the field and three of his four free throws, one of which was an airball. Iguodala showed his versatility, though, by contributing with seven assists and some tough defense down the stretch.

GOOD MOVE: With the Celtics trying to stay close, Green's hustle paid off. He raced down the court and came from behind to block a layup attempt by Corey Brewer. The ball bounced to near halfcourt and led to a layup by Bradley that made it 83-81 Denver.

BAD MOVE: The Celtics function best when they're sharing the ball but in the second half they tried to go it alone. They played too much one-on-one ball and didn't have a good flow to the offense. It was a big reason they scored just 40 points in the second half.

QUOTABLE IV: "In the third quarter we got away from the offense."

-- Garnett

NOTABLE: The Celtics had only 10 players active for the game. Forward Terrence Williams, signed to a 10-day contract, wasn't eligible to play because the team hadn't received a letter of clearance from his team in China. ... The Nuggets have won eight straight at home but had their streak of games in which they scored at least 100 points snapped at 13. ... Boston has held 13 of its last 16 to less than 100 points. Two of those games went to multiple overtimes.

UP NEXT: For the Celtics, Wednesday @ L.A. Lakers, Friday @ Phoenix, Sunday @ Portland. For the Nuggets, Friday @ Washington, Saturday @ Charlotte, Monday vs. L.A. Lakers.