BOSTON — It took a while, but home court is starting to look like an advantage for the Boston Celtics.
Friday's 106-98 win over Denver was Boston's third straight victory in front of the TD Garden crowd, their largest stretch of home success this season.
And the timing could not be any better as the Celtics are in the early stages of a December schedule that's loaded with games in front of their fans.
After Friday's win, the Celtics have 10 games remaining in December, seven of which are at the TD Garden.
"Our home gym, our fans come and support us, you want to get some wins for them," said Jordan Crawford who had a game-high 22 points against the Nuggets. "It's good to finally pull a couple out."
Boston didn't get off to the best of starts this season at home with losses in five of their first seven home games.
With three consecutive victories, the Celtics are now a .500 team in their building.
It's not great, obviously.
But it's a start for a team that's starting to show that they are a formidable team - especially at home.
"We know we need to take care of home," said Boston's Avery Bradley. "That's what we've been doing (lately). We've just been improving as a team, overall."
But every victory includes some rough patches.
And with that, here's the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from Boston's win over Denver on Friday.
Young and old players out of the regular rotation who play spotty minutes, take note of Humphries and how he has handled his situation in Boston. Just about every time he gets a chance to play, he plays well enough to warrant more time that never comes with any consistency. But on Friday, he took his game to another level in helping the Celtics beat a good Denver team. Humphries had a season-high 18 points off the bench, 12 of which came in the second half.
Crawford scored eight of his game-high 22 points in the quarter, which is when the Nuggets were on the comeback trail. The points he scores certainly help, but the timing of them lately - when Boston is searching for someone to score - has been so clutch for this team that continues to rotate clutch players on a game-by-game basis.
He has been really good of late for Boston, but by his own admission Friday night was a stinker. He had eight points on 4-for-13 shooting with several misses being shots he normally makes. He wound up playing just 20 minutes, his shortest stint since logging just 14 minutes in a blowout loss at Minnesota on Nov. 16.
Third quarter play
Too many stretches of bad play at both ends of the floor led to Boston's lead which peaked at 27 points, being cut all the way down to just three points in the third. Offensively, the Celtics opened the quarter by shooting jumpers and not working the ball inside-out, which they did with great success in the first half. And defensively, they didn't contest nearly as many shots as they did earlier in the game which allowed an already talented Denver team too many good looks at the basket that they capitalized on and ultimately wound up winning the quarter, 33-23.