Dig this: Celtics outlast Nuggets in 3OT, 118-114

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Dig this: Celtics outlast Nuggets in 3OT, 118-114

BOSTON For the fans of the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets who braved the elements and trekked out to the TD Garden Sunday night, they got their money's worth.

Boston and Denver put on a triple-overtime thriller that left everyone feeling good except the Nuggets who could not muster up enough big plays down the stretch and left with a 118-114 triple-overtime loss.

Paul Pierce had his second triple-double of the season with 27 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists while Jason Terry came off the bench to score a season-high 26 points. Boston also got a strong game and some clutch baskets from Jeff Green who had 17 points to go with four rebounds.

The Celtics (27-23) have now won a season-high seven straight, and in doing so ended the Nuggets (33-19) winning streak at nine in a row.

In the third overtime period, it was clear that Kevin Garnett was fed up with this game taking so long.

He went into "I got this" mode, scoring Boston's first six points to put the C's ahead 113-110. Garnett finished with 20 points and 18 rebounds in addition to six assists.

But as well as Garnett played to start the third overtime, the Nuggets once again had an answer.

Danilo Gallinari drilled a high-arcing 3-pointer over Garnett's outstretched hands to tie the game at 113.

And right back came the Celtics with a big shot from Terry to put Boston ahead 116-113 with 1:33 to play.

Gallinari had a pair of free throws with 1:13 to play, making the second to cut Boston's lead to 116-114.

Following a 3-point miss by Andre Miller, the Celtics got the loose ball that wound up in Terry's hands for an uncontested lay-up as time expired.

The game's ending wasn't all that surprising when you consider how it began.

The Celtics could not have drawn up a better start to the game as they opened with the game's first 12 points.

But the Nuggets countered with nine straight of their own.

The Celtics spent the rest of the quarter with a lead, one that they pushed back to double digits (29-19) with a 5-0 spurt to end the first quarter.

Boston's lead remained steady throughout the second quarter, although Denver made multiple mini-spurts that brought them within striking distance.

However, each surge by the Nuggets was matched with a similar push back by the Celtics who took a slim 50-46 lead into the half.

Pierce was on a pace for his second triple-double of the season with nine points, five rebounds and four assists at the half. Kevin Garnett was headed towards his 14th double-double this season with five points and seven rebounds at the half.

Meanwhile the Nuggets were being led by Kenneth Faried and Ty Lawson who each had eight first-half points. Faried finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds while Lawson tallied a game-high 29 points and nine assists.

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics have no answer for Lowry

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics have no answer for Lowry

BOSTON — For most of Friday night’s game, the Boston Celtics played the kind of game that on most nights would result in a victory. 

But Toronto is one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference with talent, depth and an undeniable desire to win at all costs. 

One strong quarter by the Raptors was just enough to put away the Celtics, 101-94. 

And it came in the third when Toronto outscored Boston 33-18 which turned out to be the only quarter the Raptors (16-7) outscored the Celtics. 

“They got hot; made some tough shots,” said Boston’s Marcus Smart. “The tough shots kind of hurt us.”

The tough shots and a flawless 8-for-8 performance from the free throw line. 

While it’s a 48-minute game, there was no getting around the fact that it was Toronto’s dominance in the third that ultimately determined the game’s outcome. 

“If you look at it from our perspective it’s what went wrong; if you look at it from theirs, they ratcheted up the defense quite a bit (in the third quarter),” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “It was hard for us to break their … break their wall of defense.”

In the third quarter, Boston shot just 27.8 percent from the field, 30 percent (3-for-10) on 3’s and a woeful 5-for-10 from the free throw line. 

“We started making everything difficult for them and not letting them get that easy in and try to take advantage of that,” said Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan.

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

 

STARS

Kyle Lowry

The Celtics had no answer for the All-Star point guard who led all players with 34 points, 21 of which came in the second half. 

Avery Bradley

Bradley was the lone Celtics starter who seemed to be in a good shooting flow, tallying 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting which included five made 3’s. 

DeMar DeRozan

The Celtics made him work a lot harder than he usually does to score, but he still managed to tally 24 points – just four points below his season average – on 9-for-25 shooting.

 

STUDS

Al Horford

He made a few more turnovers than usual, but Horford still put together a relatively balanced performance. He had 19 points and seven rebounds with six assists and a blocked shot. 

Norman Powell

The X-factor in Friday’s outcome had to be Powell. A 5.8 points per game scorer this season, Powell had 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting along with a game-high five steals. 

 

DUDS

Jae Crowder

With Isaiah Thomas (right groin) out, the Celtics really needed its core starters to step up and have a productive night offensively. Crowder just didn’t have it going on Friday, scoring just seven points on 2-for-11 shooting which included a number of 3s that rimmed in and out on him.