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Nuggets Get Buckets: Nuggets 97, Celtics 90

 
Boston Celtics 90 Final

Recap | Box Score

97 Denver Nuggets

Five Things We Saw

  1. I hate when I have to lead off my postgame thoughts with a comment about inconsistent officiating. If you’re a Celtics fan, the only thing you feel after this game is annoyed. The officials were allowing a lot of contact on the wings, and to Denver’s credit, they took full advantage. Especially guys like Corey Brewer and Andre Iguodala. I would have been totally fine with the officials not calling fouls for this type of contact had it been consistent. You could feel it throughout the game but the discrepancy was especially evident with just under a minute to play. On one end, there’s Kevin Garnett pushing Kenneth Faried in order to snag a rebound that elicits a looseball foul call from the referee juxtaposed with a no-call on Garnett’s subsequent contact-laden layup attempt. What gives? Either make both calls or make neither.This is far from the reason why the Celtics lost tonight- we’ll dissect some of those later on- but it certainly eliminated any thought of a C’s comeback in the fourth quarter. In the end, the Nuggets were awarded 36 free throws to the Celtics 16. I can understand a little discrepancy given Denver’s depth versus Boston’s, but 20?
  2. Denver is an awesomely deep team. They’re so deep, they don’t even have to play Javale McGee if he’s giving away points by needlessly goaltending their opponent’s misses or clapping when his home crowd boos him. They can just move Faried to the five spot and have him use his super human rebounding ability to gobble up every available board. Tonight, the Nuggets used their depth to exploit mismatches. They played Corey Brewer on Avery Bradley. They had Ty Lawson run pick and rolls with whoever was guarding Jeff Green because they knew he would switch the pick. They made guys like Brandon Bass defend some of their bigger perimeter players.  All of these strategic decisions worked in the Nuggets favor.  Wicked smaht.
  3. Denver’s depth served as a stark contrast to Boston’s deficit. It was very clear midway through the third quarter that Denver had won the pacing battle. The Celtics wanted to play small and consequently fast. Denver was not only able to match their pace, but they had the depth to stay fresh. As fatigue set in, the Celtics once crisp ball movement quickly became sloppy and laborious. As soon as the Celtics were unable to carve up the Nuggets with their execution, they stumbled and Denver took full advantage.
  4. In order for the Celtics to beat a good team like Denver, they need their premier players to play well. Unfortunately, Paul Pierce left his shot wherever he spent the All-Star break (LA, I believe). Pierce finished the game with 10 points but only on 2-14 shooting. Man, that is just awful. I didn’t mind the misses at the rim, but he took a lot of bad threes. His one make from deep was probably the most contested shot of the night. Luckily, the C’s head to LA tomorrow where, as I mentioned earlier, I presume Pierce’s shot will be waiting for him to come collect.
  5. It wasn’t all bad for the C’s. As I said before, the C’s executed well in the first half and looked like the more energetic team. It was just unfortunately unsustainable. Along with the first half execution, I was impressed by the C’s transition defense. Even when they turned the ball over, one player (Avery Bradley, Jason Terry) would hustle back to slow down the odd man rush while another would come and attempt to make a defensive play at the rim (Jeff Green, Avery Bradley). This kind of hustle will be necessary to compete against the better transition teams.
  • james patrick

    Forget the Nuggets. Paul's gonna shake this game off and come on hard against the Lakers tomorrow!

  • ElRoz

    I wonder; will this season be Paul Pierce's worst FG% season ever? He did shoot something like .402 one season midway through his career….and I think there is a strong chance he will be worse this year; which means he will shoot below .400 !!!

    I still love his rebounds, defense, and assists, but the FG % is disturbing low.

  • Phil725

    So… working mornings and a Celtics west coast swing are a bad combination. I wasn't able to watch the game, but is it fair to say that the Cs just aren't going to beat a very good team at home if Pierce shoots 2-14 and move on?

    I'm not too concerned with this outcome either way. I was nervous about the Nuggets game in Boston, and all of those matchup problems only get worse in Denver. They're 23-3 or whatever at home for a reason. Winning tonight in LA would balance things out just fine, so hopefully they're not too gassed.

    • Banner18

      Recommend watching a replay if you have the time. It's scary how easily the C's could have won if they didn't allow around 10 free throws in the last 5 minutes of the 3rd quarter, while their offense was completely stagnant. This was a prime example of where we desperately needed Barbosa for the last 6 minutes of the 3rd as no one knew what to do with the ball coming down the other end from free throws. At least Green and Avery showed signs of offensive life.

  • The Cardinal

    It's funny how McGee's bone-head goal-tending theatrics sort of stood out (cuz he's JaVale McGee!), but remember the C's were within 2 points when the call on KG for a bone-head goal-tending killed the comeback. In the end though, we were only a couple of plays and a couple of calls away from pulling this one out with only 9 players in high altitude, so I'm cool with the effort.

    This was one of those games where we got away from passing the ball and trying to break down the defense in the 2nd half. Sometimes with PP, KG and Jet (or some combination thereof) having good shooting nights, we can scrape by, but with PP having a miserable shooting night and Jet not far behind, it just wasn't likely to happen.

  • Banner18

    And wow, I've only seen a few games where Iguodala has played in this season but he looks atrocious. Takes incredulous shots that are heavily contested, shoots 60% from the line, and his defense which did not have me impressed at all. Quite hilarious that Iggy and 'Vale are this teams two highest paid players.

    • CG12

      Iggy was awful last night. Airballed a free throw, was clanking shots off the backboard without even drawing rim. He has never been much of a shooter, but when he was in Philly it always seemed like he would hit the big 3 against us. That man should not be shooting 3s right now.

      • Phil725

        It is kind of funny how the Dwight Howard trade was basically the equivalent of hooking a sprinkler system up to a septic tank. Everyone lost and there's crap flying everywhere.

  • Jamie

    Iguodola is way overrated. He's athletic and can defend but he's not a good shooter.

    I don't know what it is but the 3rd quarter has been a real issue for this team this year.

  • CG12

    Is it me, or was Bass egregiously terrible last night. I see that he had 9 rebounds, which is great, but it looked like he was way out of it on both ends of the floor last night. He was missing rotations, trying to dribble way too much, not moving crisply off the ball. I have generally been OK with SeaBass, but am losing patience. We need him to be an impact player, and he's not getting it done right now.

    • The Cardinal

      You're right. I think it may have been the poster "Phil" here (at least someone did) who alluded to his poor basketball IQ and that comment was dead on the money. I've said it before – he moves like he's doing the funky robot cuz his reactions and actions always seem to be on a split second delay. It seems like even when his instincts are correct, by the time he acts, the moment has passed.

      And speaking of low basketball IQ, Courtney Lee has got to be running a close 2nd to Bass. That's why for all of his athleticism and ability, he is not in there toward the end of most games. He repeatedly steps out of bounds at least once every game in essentially the same spot. Last night he also fiddle farted around with the 24 second clock expiring and didn't have a clue. Lawdy how I miss Barbosa! I really think that without both Rondo and Barbosa, Danny really does need to sign a point guard,

      • Phil725

        Wasn't me for the IQ thing. I just harp on his terrible defense :P

      • CG12

        Bass doesn't think and see the whole game. He is only capable of having one basketball thought in his mind at any time – e.g., "defend man in front of me", "shoot ball", or "give ball to someone else." It is really frustrating, because he has physical tools and is hard worker and good guy, but he does not have that extra something that makes someone a great team player.

  • Bill

    Check out the box … obviously Pierce going 2-14 is a problem, and he's been struggling with his shot fairly often this year. Green picked up a lot of slack (loved it when he canned two threes in a row late in the game).

    For me? The weak link is still JET. 2-5, 7 points in TWENTY SEVEN MINUTES? :(

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