By Tristan Deschenes, 98.5 The Sports Hub
The Celtics could not overcome a slow start offensively and fell to the Denver Nuggets 96-92 on Friday night. The loss dropped the Celtics’ record to 11-4 on the season and finished off their west coast road trip with a 2-3 record.
C’s guard Kemba Walker had to leave the game in the second quarter after he suffered a scary-looking head injury. Walker stumbled uncontrollably into Semi Ojeleye and jammed his head into Ojeleye’s chest and fell to the floor. Walker remained curled up on the floor for several minutes. Walker had to have his head stabilized and was eventually stretchered off the floor. He is reportedly suffering from concussion-like symptoms; according to Adrian Wojnarowski, he avoided a more serious injury.
Boston started the night making only one of their first 10 shots on the night and quickly fell behind by 16 in the first quarter. The Celtics only scored 34 first half points, their lowest of the season.
After being down by as many as 17 in the third quarter, Boston made a run at the end of the quarter to close the lead to 13 and gave themselves a chance going into the fourth.
The Celtics rode a 16-5 run to get the lead down to two as they continued to chip away at the Denver lead. Boston outscored the Nuggets 35-26 in the 4th quarter. Stevens went to his bench to get his team back in the game, giving Brad Wanamaker, Grant Williams, Robert Williams, and Javante Green big, productive minutes in the final quarter.
Boston had a chance to tie late in the game. After a Jaylen Brown three cut the Denver lead to 91-88, the Celtics needed a stop to give themselves a chance to force overtime. Jamal Murray silenced the C’s hitting a mid-range jumper with 10.9 seconds left to increase their lead back to five. Murray would later ice the game with two free throws with 1.5 seconds left to squash the Celtics hopes of overtime.
Jaylen Brown led the Celtics in scoring with 22 points including shooting 4-7 from downtown. The Celtics got a great lift off the bench from Wanamaker, who had 14 points and four assists in 27 minutes.
For the Nuggets, they did just enough. Four of the Nuggets’ five starters scored in double figures. Nikola Jokic recorded a triple-double with 18 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists. Murray continued being a Celtics killer, scoring 22 points in total; he dropped 48 in their last meeting.
Up Next: Boston returns home from their five game homestand on Monday and will face off against the Sacramento Kings.