The Denver Nuggets dropped their final game of a six-game road trip to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night by a score of 124-118.
Going into the Celtics game, the Nuggets were hoping to have star center Nikola Jokic back after missing the previous six games with an ankle sprain. It was reported before the game that Jokic would be available to play, but the Nuggets decided to rest him for at least one more game. The Nuggets were optimistic that Jokic would be able to return during their six-game road trip, but a return date is looking more likely for Friday night against the Pelicans. It would be a big boost for the Nuggets if Jokic was able to play on Friday night considering DeMarcus Cousins put up 40 points and 22 rebounds just last week on the Jokic-less Nuggets.
As for the game itself, the Nuggets fought and clawed against one of the best teams in the NBA in the Celtics. The Nuggets were on a second night of a back-to-back after a strong 103-84 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night. With the loss to the Celtics, the Nuggets are fifth in the Western Conference with a record of 15-13 and have a road record of 5-11. The Celtics move to 24-6 on the year and are still in first place in the Eastern Conference.
Gary Harris and Jamal Murray were fantastic against the Celtics and combined for over half the Nuggets points. Harris scored a career high 36 points on 16-25 from the field and also chipped in a team high six assists. Harris had some highlight reel plays on the night, but none better than this reverse lay-up near the end of the fourth quarter.
Gary Harris is underpaid. pic.twitter.com/U52SshgnAQ
— Michael Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher) December 14, 2017
Nuggets starting point guard Jamal Murray played phenomenal as well scoring 28 points on 9-17 shooting, 4-8 from behind the three-point line. Murray was all over the place tonight (in a good way) and gave the Nuggets some incredible energy on both the offensive and defensive end of the court. Murray played with incredible confidence, and it was evident on this high arching three-pointer he made in the third quarter.
silky smooth pic.twitter.com/INDMR0dHgf
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) December 14, 2017
Murray is finally starting to hit his stride and has scored in double figures in eight of his last 10 ball games and scored over 20 points in four of those eight games. The confidence Murray has shown the last few weeks are why the Nuggets made him the seventh pick in the draft last season, and is something that will hopefully continue moving forward.
Mason Plumlee also played great for the Nuggets and provided the team some great energy on both ends of the floor. Plumlee finished the night with 15 points and shot 7-9 from the field. Plumlee also brought down six rebounds and added in two blocks. Some disspainments on the night were Kenneth Faried and Emmanuel Mudiay. Faried played 16 minutes and was 0-6 from the field and scored just one point. Faried also posted a -9, but was somehow outdone in the category by Mudiay who posted a -20 in just 17 minutes of action.
Bench points ended up being the biggest difference on the night as the Celtics outscored the Nuggets in that category by a score of 29-16. The Celtics had five guys who scored in double figures and were led off the bench by Shane Larkin, who scored 14 points and was a perfect 6-6 from the field. Kyrie Irving finished the night as the leading scorer for the Celtics scoring 33 points and making 4-9 from beyond the arc. The Celtics second leading scorer was Jaylen Brown who scored 26 points and shot an efficient 9-12 from the field, 3-4 from three.
The Nuggets will now come back to Denver for a quick one game homestead against the Pelicans Friday night before they head to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City next Monday night.