The Nuggets melted down at the worst time on Sunday afternoon.
After leading the Celtics for most of the contest at Ball Arena, Denver shut down at the end of the third quarter. Naturally, Boston took full advantage.
The Celtics ended the game on a 40-8 run to surge ahead late, all while holding Denver to just eight points in the fourth quarter, to beat the Nuggets 105-87.
“I thought everyone who played in that last 15 minutes played great defense,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said, via Yahoo Sports’ Keith Smith. “We went to a different level. We were physical and were attacking. We went to switching and our guys did a really good job of that.”
Celtics end game on 40-8 run
The Nuggets gave up five straight points to start the game on Sunday afternoon, but then responded with a quick 16-0 run of their own to take full control of the contest — something they kept well into the third quarter.
That, though, is when their offense suddenly stopped. After a Facundo Campazzo 3-pointer put them up by 14 points with just over two minutes left in the third quarter, Denver went more than four minutes without scoring a bucket, opening the door for the Celtics.
Before they knew it, Boston had mounted a massive 31-3 run and taken a 14-point lead of their own.
By the time the final buzzer rang, Boston closed out the game with a 32-point swing to secure the 18-point win — its third straight after a comeback win over the New York Knicks and an overtime victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“All the good teams that I’ve been around can come back and win,” Stevens said, via Yahoo Sports’ Keith Smith. “So you come back in each of the last three games and win, down in the fourth quarter in all the games, that’s encouraging.”
Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 28 points — 14 of which came in the fourth quarter — and 10 rebounds, and Jaylen Brown dropped 20 points while shooting 8-of-15 from the field.
Michael Porter Jr. led the Nuggets with 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Nikola Jokic dropped a triple-double with 17 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. The loss snapped an eight-game win streak for Denver, its longest this season.
Jokic sat nearly the final five minutes of the game, too, and was complaining about the officiating a bit after the loss.
“The whole 30 teams [in the league] are complaining and whining,” Jokic said, via USA Today’s Mark Medina. “It’s just how the game goes. They’re doing their job. We have to do their job.”
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