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Recap: Turnovers once again plague Denver as Boston wins 108-102

Nuggets could not throw a pea in the ocean from beyond the arc in the second half, along with 21 turnovers. Boston responded by attacking the paint and it proved to be the decided factor

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Boston Celtics Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics handed the Denver Nuggets a disheartening loss tonight 108-102. The Nuggets held the lead at the end of all three quarters, but Boston’s defense stifled the Nuggets in the fourth quarter. Denver moves to 9-39 all-time in Boston, and they are now losers of four straight against the Celtics. Boston outscored Denver 57-42 in the second half after the Nuggets obtained a fairly comfortable first-half lead. Jayson Tatum was the high scorer for Boston with 24 and Marcus Smart not far behind with 22.

The bright spots for Denver were Nikola Jokic’s 13th triple-double within 26 minutes, Aaron Gordon’s efficient inside play, and Facu’s productivity from three in the first half. Jokic’s triple-double tonight was the first for Denver in Boston since Fat Lever in 1987. The Nuggets were in control of this game, but in the third quarter, they got way too comfortable from behind the arc. They attempted only one free throw while chucking up 13 threes and sinking only one. They stayed stagnant on the perimeter and did not play inside out at all which proved to hinder their offense in the second half. The Nuggets have a short turnaround as they travel to Toronto to face a scorching hot Raptors team at 5:30 PM MT.

1st Quarter

  • Denver started the game with a turnover resulting in an Al Horford three. Marcus Smart then forced another steal which gave Tatum an easy transition layup, but Jokic quieted the crowd with a mid-range jumper and an assist to Uncle Jeff for a corner three
  • Will Barton followed with a three and Jokic a layup off an offensive rebound as they acquired a 12-5 lead. The Celtics responded with six straight points following a timeout, but Jokic once again silence the crowd with a no-look assist to Gordon for a two-handed slam
  • Will Barton then knocked in his second three of the game and Jokic followed with his first three to increase Denver's lead to 22-13. On the next possession, Jokic found Gordon for another dunk, and then off a Boston turnover, Bones capitalized in transition with a layup
  • After the Bones layup, Boston scored six in a row to decrease the Nugget lead 26-20. At the 4:00 mark, the Nuggets had 5 turnovers that the Celtics turned into 11 points
  • Gordon and Facu both scored on layups along with a Forbes mid-range jumper. The lead was 32-23 until Boston scored seven in a row to close the quarter

Score: 32-30 Nuggets

Scoring leaders: Tatum - 9, Gordon - 8

2nd Quarter

  • Derrick White opened the quarter with his second triple of the game and off another Denver turnover, he converted a driving layup to give the Celtics a 35-32 lead
  • Denver’s bench struggled in their first stint, but they started to obtain their footing after giving the Celtics a 12-2 scoring run. Facu Campazzo ended the run with a three and Nnaji followed with a layup. The defense also forced the Celtics into six straight missed shots
  • Campazzo hit his second three to give Denver a 42-39 advantage. Jaylen Brown answered with a smooth mid-range from the wing, but it was succeeded by another Facu triple
  • Gordon retrieved a Jeff Green airball for a dunk and sank a free throw to increase Denver’s lead to six. Robert Williams III then caught an alley-oop, but Bones responded with a mid-range jumper plus the free throw for the and-one
  • Barton took it to the rack for a layup, and Denver forced a turnover that resulted in a Barton fadeaway for two. Marcus Smart answered with two free throws, and Jokic ended the scoring in the half with a free throw

Score: 60-51 Nuggets

Scoring leaders: Gordon/Facu - 11, Tatum - 11

3rd Quarter

  • Smart introduced the quarter with a three but Bones matched it with his own three. Jayson Tatum then glided to the rim for a bucket along with a Williams III layup to cut the Denver lead 63-60. At the 8:00 mark, Denver shot just 1-8
  • Following a timeout, Jokic converted a floater in the paint, but it was quickly answered with a Tatum three. Marcus Smart then tied the game at 65 with a layup off an offensive rebound
  • Jaylen Brown gave the Celtics the lead with a driving one-handed dunk. The Celtics went on a 12-3 run in which the Nuggets avoided the paint on the offensive end. At the 5:00 mark in the quarter, the Nuggets attempted ten threes and only made one
  • Off a Denver timeout, Marcus Smart recorded another steal and converted at the other end with a layup. That steal was Denver’s 17th turnover and Boston’s 11th steal to that point
  • The Celtics expanded their lead to five, 72-67 with another Derrick White three. Jokic promptly responded with a three and then assisted a Gordon dunk which sealed another triple-double for the Joker
  • Bryn Forbes drove to the rim for an and-one layup which regained the lead for Denver. On the next possession, JaMychal Green drove to the rack for a layup to end the quarter. The Nuggets shot 8-22 shooting in the quarter, and 13 of those shots were threes, but the bench helped late in the 3rd with a short 6-0 run

Score: 79-76 Nuggets

Scoring leaders: Tatum - 16, Jokic - 15

4th Quarter

  • JaMychal Green initiated the scoring with a layup. Horford then went to the line for two, but Facu matched it with two free throws
  • Facu forced a Boston turnover and assisted a Nnaji three, but it was immediately countered with a Payton Pritchard three. Marcus Smart then hit two free throws to cut the Denver lead 88-86
  • Aaron Gordon played bully ball for a reverse layup, but it was once again answered with a Smart three from the corner. Robert Williams III then gave the Celtics the lead 91-90 with an alley-oop resulting in an eruption from the crowd
  • Jokic found Gordon for another dunk to end an 11-2 Celtic run. Denver then turned it over on an out of bounds play and Tatum translated that into an and-one layup
  • Jokic hit a corner three to tie the game up at 95. A couple of possessions later, Barton hit one of two free throws after he was fouled on a mid-range, but Williams III slammed in his third alley-oop of the game to place the Celtics up one 97-96
  • Derrick White converted a layup to increase the Celtic lead to three. Nnaji’s shot was blocked at the other end, but the Celtics could not capitalize offensively. Smart was then awarded two free throws following a horrendous call from the referees to put the score at 102-97
  • After another Denver foul, Tatum sank two free throws. Jokic answered with a tip shot, but the foul game ensued and it was too late for Denver at that point

Score: 108-102 Celtics

Scoring leaders: Tatum - 24, Jokic - 23

Stat leaders

Points: Tatum - 24

Rebounds: Jokic/Williams III - 16

Assists: Jokic - 11

Silent hero of the game: Marcus Smart - 22 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 steals, and 8-10 from the free-throw line