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Harris Scores Career-High 36, But Nuggets Fall to Celtics
BOSTON – To a certain degree, the Nuggets were playing with house money on Wednesday night at TD Garden. Yes, they wanted to finish the season’s second-longest road trip with a .500 record, but they’d done some heavy lifting already entering the game still fifth in the Western Conference and assured of returning home with a winning record.
So they took their free swing.
The Nuggets did not hit the mark in a 124-118 loss to the Celtics, but they again pushed matters into the fourth quarter before the hill became too steep to climb. They had star Nikola Jokic available to play, but he was not used as he continues to recover from a sprained ankle.
Without Jokic, and without guard Will Barton, who missed the back due to a sore back, the Nuggets placed Trey Lyles and Mason Plumlee in the starting lineup and got off to a good start. Lyles played aggressive to the rim and Plumlee put in an overall solid floor game, but the Celtics started to get a foothold into things late in the first quarter and into the second.
And when the Celtics’ offense starting humming, the Nuggets couldn’t slow it down. Boston shot 59.5 percent in the game, made 11 3-pointers and turned 16 Nuggets turnovers into 26 points. Kyrie Irving had 33 points, and Shane Larkin came off the bench to contribute 14 important points.
Meanwhile, the Nuggets got a career night from Gary Harris, who got rolling quickly with 11 first quarter points. He didn’t stop until he registered a career-high 36 points on 16-of-25 shooting. He added six assists. He had 21 of those points in the second half.
Jamal Murray finished with his second straight game of 28 points. He added 10 rebounds and four assists.
The Nuggets conclude the trip with a 2-4 record and get a much-needed day off before returning to action on Friday against New Orleans.
Christopher Dempsey: email@example.com and @chrisadempsey on Twitter