Nikola Jokic (30 factors, 12 assists and 12 rebounds) put up a dominant sport for the Denver Nuggets as they began the yr off handing the Boston Celtics the 123-111 loss. Jaylen Brown led the way in which for the Celtics with 30 factors and eight rebounds whereas Jayson Tatum adopted up with 25 factors. Derrick White (13 factors) had a stable sport, however in addition to him, the Celtics couldn’t discover the underside of the basket sufficient to outpace the Nuggets and a prime MVP candidate.
Within the first quarter, Denver used its physicality to ascertain a fast lead. Boston bought an up-close take a look at Nikola Jokic’s offensive prowess, however as an alternative of his ordinary finesse, he was forcefully utilizing his physique to get Denver some well-earned factors. Aaron Gordon (18 factors, 7 rebounds) and Bruce Brown (21 factors) adopted his lead, punishing Boston on the rim, resulting in the Nuggets capturing 67% from the sphere within the first and 75% from behind the 3-point line. Gordon is the precise kind of wing that Tatum struggles towards on each ends.
For Boston, it was good offensive course of, however the photographs are method off. The altitude undoubtedly appeared to affect the crew, resulting in a sluggish begin for everybody not named Jaylen Brown. The Celtics seemed like they had been beginning to get issues going within the second quarter, however then issues fell aside fairly shortly after a weird basket interference name on Robert Williams, who injected some vitality into the torpid lineup after he subbed in. Denver began enjoying even quicker, and Boston misplaced the non-Jokic minutes fairly badly.
It’s robust to beat Denver when your greatest participant is extraordinarily off and each open shot is an airball. Additionally, this was a fairly dangerous Marcus Sensible sport. Though he got here out aggressive, his shot-making was fairly dangerous. His 7 assists led the crew, however between Sensible and Malcolm Brogdon, the Celtics had been missing in PG manufacturing tonight.
For as bodily as Denver got here out, in hindsight, it might have been a greater transfer for Joe Mazzulla to begin Grant Williams over Derrick White. As nice as White’s protection has been this season, that is extra of a Grant matchup than something, and Williams proved that in his minutes. The protection tightened up as Boston went to final yr’s large beginning lineup. Actually makes you assume!
Facet be aware, the cool factor about Jayson Tatum is that he can play completely terrible to begin a sport and nonetheless finish the primary half with 14 factors and 4 rebounds on 44% capturing. Actually a particular expertise.
Boston began Grant Williams within the third over Derrick White in an try to struggle again towards Denver’s inside presence. The outcomes had been . . . blended. The group was a -5 within the first 6 minutes of the quarter. Boston’s shotmaking improved a bit, however the protection continued to undergo. Boston’s protection was actually getting taken benefit of just about each journey down. On the opposite finish, Denver’s good doubles on Tatum led to some tough positioning as different Celtics struggled to knock down open photographs.
In the meantime, Denver’s capturing was already good earlier than the half and one way or the other bought even higher within the late third and early fourth. Each time the Celtics had been poised to get some momentum going, a random Bones Hyland (17 factors, 4 assists) three would drop. Both him or Michael Porter Jr. (19 factors) would harm the Celtics on the worst occasions. Boston solely had sufficient within the tank to not get totally blown out.
The sport’s rating was 110-97 Nuggets with 6:43 left when Denver workers got here out to regulate Boston’s rim to verify it was completely degree. The delay lasted about 40 minutes, and that was just about the one factor that would cool off Denver’s insane capturing. Sadly, Boston’s capturing didn’t get significantly better both. The ultimate rating was 123-111.
There’s not too a lot to learn into with regard to this sport. The Celtics had a foul capturing variance sport, and the rim debacle makes this a pretend consequence (let me prepare dinner). It’s a disappointing consequence, however after the Celtics got here out flat, they had been principally nice for an excellent chunk of the sport. It’s a make-miss league, so hopefully the Celtics make greater than they miss as their street journey progresses to OKC, Dallas and San Antonio.