Stars, studs and duds: Nuggets' physicality trumps Celtics' finesse

Stars, studs and duds: Nuggets' physicality trumps Celtics' finesse

BOSTON –  Brad Stevens used well-thought out, measured tones when describing what he feared might happen to the Boston Celtics based on the film study he and his staff did leading up to their matchup against the Denver Nuggets. 

“The nicest way I can say this is, ‘I think we play like a finesse team, and they play physical,’” Stevens said. “So I kind of saw that right out the gate.”

Sometimes it sucks to be right.

As we’ve seen time and time again in the NBA, physicality usually trumps finesse.


That was exactly what happened on Sunday as the Nuggets made the Celtics look sundae-soft with a 123-107 thumping in a game that wasn’t nearly as close for most of the night as the final score might have indicated. 

“When we don’t come out with a sense of urgency, we’re not a good team,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas. “And that’s what happened tonight.”

After being told about Stevens’ comment about them being a finesse team, Thomas agreed. 

“The physical thing is an attitude,” Thomas said. “Not backing down, not thinking we’re the best team in the NBA. It’s a mindset thing.  We’ve shown we can be a physical team. We’ve shown we can play at a high level on the defensive end, but we’re not showing it this season. We’ll have a bad season if we don’t show it soon.”

Bradley also agreed with Stevens’ assessment of the team being a finesse bunch right now. 

However, the Celtics showed some defensive fight to start the third quarter when they opened with six straight points, all of which were fueled by gritty play defensively. 

“We have to be like that the entire game,” Bradley said. “That’s what it is.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Sunday night’s game.



Emmanuel Mudiay

He only had four points in the second, third and fourth quarters combined, but his 24-point explosion in the first put the Celtics on their heels for the rest of the night. He would finish with 30 points and eight rebounds in leading the Nuggets. “I was trying to be as aggressive as I can be,” Mudiay said. 

Isaiah Thomas

This was one of the few games this season when Thomas didn’t get any significant scoring help. He would lead the Celtics with 30 points on 9-for-17 shooting from the field to go along with five assists.



Wilson Chandler

Where Mudiay left off scoring, Chandler was there to keep it going for the Nuggets. He came off the bench and finished with 22 points and five rebounds. 

Avery Bradley

It was yet another double-double for Bradley (his third this season), finishing with 14 points and 11 rebounds along with a team-high six assists. 



Celtics defense

Easily their worst defensive performance of the season, the Nuggets had their way all game in terms of scoring the ball and getting whatever shot they wanted. It will be interesting to see how the Celtics respond to his drubbing at home as they gear up to play three of their next four games on the road beginning at Washington on Wednesday.

'Big Baby' busted with 126 grams of pot, $92K in cash

AP Photo

'Big Baby' busted with 126 grams of pot, $92K in cash

Former Celtics forward Glen "Big Baby" Davis was arrested last month in a hotel room in Aberdeen, Maryland, with more than 126 grams of marijuana and more than $92,000 in cash.

Davis, 32, who played on the Celtics 2008 championship team was last in the NBA with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2015, was arrested Feb. 7 after the hotel owner at the Aberdeen Hampton Inn smelled marijuana coming from Davis' room, WMAR-TV in Baltimore reported.

“They recovered 126 grams of marijuana,” Aberdeen Police Lt. William Reiber told WMAR. “In addition to that, there was a briefcase that contained 92,164 dollars of U.S. currency along with a ledger that contained language which is consistent with someone involved in the sale and distribution of narcotics.”

Davis is charged with seven counts of drug possession and distribution.

Police said the strains of marijuana were from a Los Angeles wholesaler that court records show Davis told police he was in business with.

He told officers he was visiting family in Maryland. Davis' attorney told WMAR the former Celtic (2007-11) adamantly maintains his innocence and looks forward to his day in court next month to clear his name. 


Horford helps Celtics get back on track

USA TODAY Sports Photo

Horford helps Celtics get back on track

Aggressive Al Horford was on the floor Friday night for the Boston Celtics, a good sign for a Celtics team that has been battered by injuries. 

As the oldest member of the team, the 31-year-old’s leadership has to become more example-driven as well as existing in the spoken word.

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Horford was on point for most of Friday’s 92-83 win over Orlando, a game that was far more lopsided in Boston’s favor than the final score might indicate.

The 6-foot-10 forward/center had a near double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds. 

What was more telling was that Horford took a team-high 18 shots from the field, as clear a sign as you will find that Horford’s mindset on Friday was to attack Orlando’s defense early and often. 

And while it’s true that the Magic are one of the worst teams in the NBA, that doesn’t diminish the way Horford executed the plays called by head coach Brad Stevens as Horford played the role of primary scorer more often than usual, instead of being a major facilitator.

Having missed Boston’s previous two games, Horford was admittedly concerned if the lay-off might affect his conditioning. 

“Wind-wise I felt good,” Horford told reporters after Friday night’s win. “A little rusty on offense. But defensively I felt great. I felt our team came out with energy; just a good win.” 

A win that became a lot easier to get with Aggressive Al on the floor. 

 Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds in Boston’s 92-83 win over Orlando.



Terry Rozier: He continues to provide the Celtics with really solid guard play, with all-star guard Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness) missing. Rozier had a game high-tying 17 points along with seven rebounds and five assists. 

Greg Monroe: The third quarter was when Monroe really began to take over the game. He finished with 17 points, 10 of which came in the third. 

Shelvin Mack: Not a lot to cheer about for Mack and the Magic who once again struggled in so many phases of the game. But Mack still managed to score 16 points. 



Al Horford: Having missed the two previous games, Horford was back in full force on Friday. He had 15 points on 6-for-18 shooting to go with nine rebounds

Boston rebounding: The Celtics control of the glass began from the outset and never really eased up. For the game, Boston grabbed 55 rebounds compared to just 40 by Orlando. 



Fourth-quarter Celtics: The only real blemish on an otherwise impressive performance by Boston, was the team’s overall play in the fourth quarter. Boston was outscored 31-17 and turned the ball over 10 times in the quarter.