BOSTON – The news of the day for the Boston Celtics involved Gordon Hayward whose left ankle injury is clearly getting better.
The same can be said for the Celtics’ offense which seemed to score in bunches most of the night in their 124-118 win over the Denver Nuggets.
The 124 points scored were a season-high for Boston (24-6), which was coming off a 23-point loss at Chicago on Monday night – their worst loss of the season.
But after losing the first two games to start the season, Boston’s other four losses have each been followed up immediately by a win.
And Wednesday’s game against hot-shooting Nuggets (15-13) was no exception.
Kyrie Irving led Boston with 33 points while Jaylen Brown (26 points) and Aron Baynes (17 points) also had big games for the Celtics. Off the Celtics bench, Shane Larkin had 14 points on 6-for-6 shooting.
For the Nuggets, Gary Harris was a major problem for Boston as he finished with 36 points on 16-for-25 shooting. Harris’ backcourt mate Jamal Murray (28 points) also had a big game for Denver whose six-game road trip ends with a 2-4 record.
The final score was indicative of how this game was played out most of the night.
Boston found itself on the short end of an 11-3 run in the third quarter that brought the Nuggets within 83-81, only for Irving to give the Celtics a little breathing room with a turn-around jumper.
The Nuggets would eventually tie the game at 85 on a put-back basket from Harris.
By now, Boston was on the short end of a 15-5 run, so who do they turn to for a basket?
Baynes of course!
Baynes, well aware the Celtics would need more of a lift offensively from him with Al Horford (rest) out for the game, drained a jumper that was soon followed by a 3-pointer from Brown and a 3-point play by Jayson Tatum as part of a 12-7 spurt by Boston which gave them a 97-92 lead going into the fourth.
Tatum, coming off his worst game scoring (4 points) as a pro, bounced back with 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting.
Both teams shot the ball well at the start of the game, evident by the first quarter ending with the Nuggets ahead 31-30.
But the Celtics’ defense, even without their defensive leader Al Horford, found their defensive stride with a slew of stops.
After falling behind 33-30 early in the second, Boston responded with a 17-7 run capped off by a Larkin 3-pointer to put the Celtics ahead 50-40.
Denver responded with a 5-0 spurt which led to Brad Stevens calling a timeout with 5:43 to play.
Out of the timeout, Boston got a 3-point play from Baynes and a goal-tended basket from Jaylen Brown to make it a 10-point game again.
Boston continued to control the action in the first half which ended with the Celtics leading 68-59.