2/11 Game Preview: Nuggets at Celtics
Despite winning six straight and eight of their last nine, the Boston Celtics aren't about to become complacent.
The surging Celtics will look to maintain their momentum on Friday against the visiting Denver Nuggets, who have won two straight following a three-game losing streak.
Boston was active at Thursday's trade deadline. First, they acquired point guard Derrick White from the San Antonio Spurs for Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford and a 2022 first-round pick.
White was averaging 14.4 points and 5.6 assists in San Antonio and gives the Celtics another consistent scoring threat.
Right at the deadline, the Celtics reportedly acquired forward Daniel Theis from the Houston Rockets for guard Dennis Schroder and big men Enes Freedom and Bruno Fernando. Theis, a former Celtic, is averaging 8.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in 26 games (21 starts) this season.
Boston is coming off a dominant 126-91 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday. Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart each scored 22 points for the Celtics, who jumped to a 28-2 lead and never looked back.
"It feels at times like we engulf teams and kinda suffocate them with our size and length," Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. "It feels like everybody is taking the challenge and embracing it, embracing that mentality."
The Celtics' 35-point win marked their fifth win of 29 or more in their last nine games.
Brown has scored 22 points or more in six of his last eight games for Boston, whose eight wire-to-wire wins are tied with Milwaukee for the most in the NBA.
"I just keep saying it over and over again: One game at a time. That's it. That's where we have to remain our focus," Brown said. "It's nothing to get happy about. Can't lose our edge, can't get comfortable, can't get satisfied. We've got some big games coming up at home, and we're looking forward to those. That's it."
Denver is also riding high after recording an impressive 132-115 home win over the New York Knicks on Tuesday.
Rookie Bones Hyland had 22 points and center Nikola Jokic added 21 for the Nuggets, who scored a season-high 83 points in the first half.
Hyland has moved ahead of Facundo Campazzo as the team's second-string point guard and continues to impress coach Michael Malone.
"You know that with a young player there were going to be highs and lows. Those are expected and we welcome it. That's part of maturation and development," Malone said. "What I love about him is that he had six rebounds and some of those rebounds are in traffic. He's not afraid to mix it up. He's a joy to be around and he is getting better."
Denver's offense still revolves around Jokic, who has posted four straight games with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. However, the team's bench has played a key role over the past week.
The Nuggets' bench outscored the Knicks' reserves 61-34 on Tuesday with Hyland leading a group that included JaMychal Green (20 points) and Zeke Nnaji (11 points).
"The chemistry with each and every one of us is getting tighter," Hyland said. "We're trusting in each other. We're going to miss shots, but I think we're more and more confident in each other when shots are going up. We're used to playing with each other now."