Celtics score season-high points in 124-118 win over Nuggets

Celtics score season-high points in 124-118 win over Nuggets

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.


Celtics achieve their biggest offseason goal: Re-signing Marcus Smart

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Celtics achieve their biggest offseason goal: Re-signing Marcus Smart

BOSTON -- Mission accomplished.

The Celtics went into the offseason planning to bring back all their core players from last season’s squad, which came within a victory of getting to the NBA Finals.

The last bit of business is now taken care of with Marcus Smart coming to terms on a four-year, $52 million contract.

A restricted free agent this summer, Smart was unable to secure an offer sheet from another team. The Celtics had maintained all along they would match any offer within a reasonable amount. 

They never put a specific number on how high they would go, but most league executives believed a team would have to sign Smart to an offer sheet of at least $15 million in order for the Celtics to allow him to walk.


Signing Smart solidifies what’s shaping up as one of the deepest backcourts in the NBA. All-Star Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown are the starters, with Smart and Terry Rozier coming off the bench.

There were moments during negotiations when Smart was reportedly disappointed and frustrated by the lack of attention the Celtics were paying him through the process. But Boston maintained all along that re-signing him was its No. 1 priority, and that position never changed.

Even when Smart’s return was far from a given, the Celtics still had a roster that was viewed by many as one of the best in the NBA. When LeBron James left Cleveland to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, that instantly catapulted the Celtics to the top of the Eastern Conference. (Story continues below.)


At 1:26 mark: A. Sherrod Blakey, Kyle Draper, Gary Tanguay and Trenni Kusnierek discuss the Smart deal prior to its finalization


Now with Smart set to return, Boston’s position among its Eastern Conference brethren remains strong as ever, even with the Raptors trading for two-way standout Kawhi Leonard.

The Celtics' journey towards the NBA Finals will involve them leaning on a variety of players with a varying amount of strengths and skills. That's why re-signing Smart was so important.

The recipe for postseason success is an unpredictable one; it requires having as much elite versatility on the roster as possible. That's what Smart brings: An ability to impact games when there’s a great need for toughness defensively, which is often in the closing moments of matchups.


That’s why you’ll often find Smart on the floor in close games, regardless of how well or woeful he might be shooting that night.

Because as much as the analytics folks of the world would love to see better numbers by Smart when he’s on the floor, it always comes back to winning games for the 6-foot-4 guard.

And as much of a head-scratcher he may be when it comes to shooting, he never loses sight of the ultimate goal -- winning -- which is why Boston’s quest towards Banner 18 is even more alive and well with his return.


NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kawhi Leonard finally traded; Marcus Smart back to the Celtics?

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kawhi Leonard finally traded; Marcus Smart back to the Celtics?

1:26 - Marcus Smart and the Celtics are reportedly finalizing a 4 year contract. A. Sherrod Blakey and Kyle Draper join Gary Tanguay and Trenni Kusnierek to discuss the deal and debate if the Celtics are overpaying for Smart.

6:17 - Kawhi Leonard has finally been traded. The Spurs shipped him to the Raptors in a package centered around DeMar DeRozan. Cedric Maxwell breaks down who got the best end of the deal and if he was surprised Kawhi got sent to Toronto.

11:18 - Darrelle Revis has officially retired from the NFL after 11 seasons, including one season with the Patriots where he won his only Super Bowl ring. Chris Gasper along with Tanguay and Trenni discuss Revis’ legacy.