Ford Keys to the Game: Nuggets 129, Celtics 98

Nuggets 129, Celtics 98 - Denver, CO
By Marc D'Amico, January 8, 2014

Key Moment

The Boston Celtics went into Tuesday night’s matchup with the Denver Nuggets boasting the second-best 3-point defense in the entire NBA. Boston had limited opponents to just 32.9 percent shooting from behind the arc during their first 34 games of the season.

As those who watched the contest found out, not even the vaunted Celtics defense was enough to slow down the red-hot Nuggets.

Denver came out Tuesday night and put together yet another unbelievable scoring effort during a 129-98 victory over Boston. It was the second consecutive game in which the Nuggets had scored at least 129 points in regulation. This performance was spurred by unstoppable shooting from long range during the first half of the game.

It was a 3-point party for the Nuggets during the first half, and nearly all of their players were invited. Six of their 10 players who appeared in the fist half of the game hit a 3-pointer, led by Randy Foye’s four. Darrell Arthur and Wilson Chandler, who each shot 1-of-3 from behind the arc in the first half, were Denver’s only players who made less than half of their attempts from downtown over the first two quarters.

The performance had onlookers wondering if they were watching an all-time performance from long range. The NBA record for 3-pointers in a game is 23, recorded twice, and the Nuggets got nearly halfway there in the first half with their 10-of-18 performance.

Things cooled down considerably for Denver in the second half when it came to 3-point shooting, but the damage had already been done. That 3-point shooting performance during the first two quarters opened up a 23-point halftime lead that never dwindled below 20 for the remainder of the game.

Key Box Score Line

Tuesday night was not a good night for the Boston Celtics. There’s no doubt about that. It was, however, a positive step forward for veteran guard Keith Bogans.

It’s no secret that Bogans has played sparingly this season. He had played in just four games for a total of 28 minutes prior to Sunday’s contest in Oklahoma City. But that was the night his season began to change.

Bogans played 14 minutes against the Thunder and scored his first basket of the season, a 3-pointer. He also chipped in a rebound and two assists during that game.

On Tuesday night, he got some more run, and to his credit, he capitalized on it. Bogans scored nine points for the Celtics during just 13 minutes of action. He shot 2-of-3 from 3-point range and hit all three of his free throws.

Those numbers may seem trivial in a blowout loss, but to many, they aren’t. Fourteen Celtics appeared in Tuesday’s game. Only two of them finished with a positive plus/minus rating. One of them was Bogans, who helped the Celtics outscore the Nuggets by six points during his time on the floor. His performance was strong enough to garner a shout-out from his coach after a tough loss.

“In games like this you focus on individuals,” Brad Stevens said after the game. “I thought Keith Bogans gave us nice minutes.”

Bogans has now done so in two consecutive games. He has kept himself ready for these moments and now he’s giving the Celtics solid minutes off of the bench.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Denver scored at least 31 points in each of the first three quarters.
  • Jeff Green led the Celtics with 17 points, 11 of which were scored in the opening frame.
  • Both teams attempted at least 32 free throws, with Denver shooting 29-of-38 and Boston shooting 24-of-32.
  • Denver had six players score in double-figures, led by 23 points from Randy Foye.
  • Boston was outrebounded by a count of 56-35.
  • Vitor Faverani came off the bench to score 10 points and grab five rebounds.
  • Faverani and Kelly Olynyk both fouled out of the game, while Jared Sullinger was ejected after being called for two Flagrant 1 fouls.
  • Ty Lawson dished out a game-high 13 assists and also scored 19 points.
  • Kenneth Faried accounted for the game's other double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
  • Brandon Bass shot 9-of-11 from the free-throw line en route to 15 points.
  • Boston forced Denver into 21 turnovers.
  • The Celtics outscored the Nuggets in the paint (44-40) and in second-chance points (17-11).
  • Randy Foye scored a game-high 23 points and made seven of his 12 3-point attempts.

Quote of the Night

I thought he tried to do everything right. I thought he tried to make the extra pass. I thought he probably tried to overpass. He clearly was trying to fit in and be a good teammate.
Brad Stevens on Jerryd Bayless' first game with the Celtics

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