The Denver Nuggets faced the daunting task of taking on the Boston Celtics on their homecourt where they had yet to lose. The Nuggets got huge performances from their stars Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray which offset some big games from Jayson Tatum, Kristaps Porzingis and Derrick White. It was a back and forth affair the whole night with Denver needing an early comeback but they ultimately outlast the Celtics and pick up a huge win on the road 102-100.

Porzingis opened the game hot for Boston, scoring their first eleven points while the Nuggets used a balanced attack led by Jokic to counter his proficiency. Boston was firing away from three which got them a small lead but the game was very close early on. The Nuggets offense started to cool off slightly midway through the quarter but Porzingis was proving wholly ineffective against Jokic on defense and that was enough to carry them. Both teams traded some more threes and we went back and forth with the quarter winding down. Jokic continued to carry the offense while Boston continued to have a response. They pushed back to take the lead in the closing moments of the first. Reggie Jackson knocked down a pair of mid range shots to close it out and after one Denver trailed 32-31.

Jokic checked out and Boston opened the second quarter with a 6-0 run. Murray got a little hot to get the Nuggets on the board and keep the lead from growing too much. Peyton Watson had a nice sequence a little bit later with a classic Swatson block followed by knocking down a three. Denver couldn’t close the gap though as it was Tatum’s turn to get hot for the Celtics. After him, Jaylen Brown got a couple buckets and a 9-1 Boston run forced Michael Malone to take a timeout. It didn’t help much as Boston grew the lead to double digits. Murray kept up his stellar play in the quarter and tried to rally Denver back but they were getting killed on the offensive glass. Still, the Nuggets were able to close the gap at least some and entered the half trailing 61-55.

Porter and Murray opened the second with some impressive baskets, including a nice and-1 from Porter. That helped Denver get within a couple baskets. A Jokic three from the top of the arc got Denver back the lead with about seven minutes to go in the quarter. Boston responded to quickly get the lead back while Denver also got a less than favorable whistle. White in particular was having a nice quarter. Jokic led a rally back the other way as the game continued to be a good one. Denver’s defense picked up the intensity a bit and they pulled within three with a minute to go. Porter got it within one with some free throws and the third quarter ended with Boston up 82-81.

Denver’s bench unit was in to start the fourth and they leaned heavily on Murray for offensive production. They had enough to survive the minutes without Jokic and actually had a one point lead with eight minutes to go. Murray continued to be red hot from the field while White was still was hitting shots for Boston. They pushed back again and went on a 7-0 run to force a Denver timeout. Jokic started to bully Horford in the post and the lead went right back to Denver. The game went into the closing minutes with the Nuggets clinging to a one point lead. Jokic drove the lane and had an opportunity to put the Nuggets up three under thirty seconds to go but he kicked it out to Gordon who airballed a three. Tatum missed the layup on the other end and fouled Gordon. He made the first free throw and missed the second while the Celtics committed a clear lane violation but the refs got together, remembered they had the Celtics moneyline, and decided to call it a jump ball instead which the Celtics won. The basketball gods would not be cheated though. Boston couldn’t get a good look on their first attempt, called timeout and drew up a second play but Tatum couldn’t cash it in and the Nuggets escape with a win. Denver closes it out 102-100.