The Boston Celtics welcomed the Western Conference's No. 2 seed into their home Friday night and treated them to a total drubbing.
Boston led the Denver Nuggets from start to finish at TD Garden, maintaining around a 10-point lead for the majority of the first three quarters. It was near the tail-end of the third frame that the C’s completely blew the game open, thanks to an electrifying stretch of play from both Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, along with a steadfast collective effort on the defensive end.
The Celtics were up 74-64 when the two-minute mark of the third rolled around, before taking off on a 13-0 run, which put the game away.
Brown led the charge offensively during that stretch, as he knocked down a fadeaway jumper, canned a pair of free throws and threw down a thunderous dunk which started with a leap more than halfway to the free-throw line.
Tatum delivered in every which way during the run, as he dished out a pair of assists, grabbed one rebound, snagged a steal and hit a 3-point dagger to close out the third quarter.
Boston’s defense, meanwhile, shut down Denver for five straight minutes, as it went from the 2:07 mark of the third quarter to the 9:04 mark of the fourth without surrendering a single point.
By then, the Celtics had taken a commanding 87-64 lead. They were still ahead by 17 when they took their starters out with 2:40 remaining in the game, and from there, they cruised to a 108-95 win.
Through his first 177 career outings, Jayson Tatum had zero 25-point, five-rebound, five-assist efforts to his name. In his last three games, he’s produced two such performances, including Friday night’s 26-point, seven-rebound, five-assist masterpiece, which helped to lead Boston to a 13-point victory over the Nuggets.
Tatum led or tied for the team lead in all three categories, while also snagging one steal and committing just one turnover during his 30 minutes of action. He also maintained great shooting efficiency from all over the floor, as he shot 10-of-19 from the field, 4-of-8 from 3-point range and 2-of-2 from the free-throw line.
Tatum proved that his 30-point, six-rebound, career-high seven-assist effort from Sunday afternoon in New York was no fluke. He’s playing the best all-around basketball of his young career, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Box Score Nuggets
- Jayson Tatum (26 points) and Jaylen Brown (21 points) were responsible for 43.5 percent of Boston's scoring.
- Nuggets center Nikola Jokic led the game in both points (30) and rebounds (10).
- Tatum dished out a game-high five assists.
- Boston held Denver to a 5-of-30 shooting effort from beyond the 3-point arc.
- The Celtics took only eight trips to the free-throw line, where they sunk all but one attempt.
- Semi Ojeleye had a game-high plus-15 rating.
- The Nuggets tripled up the C's on the offensive glass, 12-4.
- Boston had a 54-52 scoring edge inside the paint.
- There were not a lot of steals in this contest, as both teams had just five thieveries apiece.
- Kemba Walker led the Celtics in blocked shots with two.
Quote of the Night
I think they are really enjoying playing together.
Brad Stevens on Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.