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Irving scores 27 points as Celtics hang on to beat Nuggets
February 19 2018, 08:02 | Van Peters
San Antonio Spurs: Injury report vs. Nuggets features Kawhi Leonard
NY jumped out to a 61-41 halftime lead and never looked back.
His long-distance shot from the left corner with 33.3 seconds remaining proved to be the difference for Boston, as the Celtics held off the Nuggets' furious second-half rally to win 111-110 on Monday night.
Although the Celtics raced to a 20-point first half lead, the game never felt like it was out-of-hand for the Nuggets, the comeback was gradual, the 82-80 lead at the end of the third nearly a surprise. But Malone also wanted to reinforce his trust in Barton, to stress that he would take the same aggressive approach the next time Denver was in a similar late-game scenario.
"They're talented. They put us in a lot of tough spots, and I thought our guys battled".
Kyle Anderson and Pau Gasol added 18 points each for the Spurs, who have won four of their past five games, while Dejounte Murray pulled down 13 rebounds (10 on the defensive glass) and dished out 7 assists but did not score a point in the victory. Denver almost added to their misery.
Denver had a chance to win in dramatic fashion at the end but Will Barton's long attempt from 3-point range was late and wide.
Afterward, Denver coach Michael Malone defended his decision not to use a timeout to set something up.
He said: "We needed this (victory)".
Irving led all scorers with 27 points (11-17 FG) and six assists.
Boston blew a 20-point lead and trailed heading into the final period.
After losing Jaylen Brown (a 37% 3-point shooter) in the corner to go down 111-108 with 34.7 seconds left, the Nuggets called timeout. The German rookie has proven to be a solid defender and rebounder, but if he can knock down 3-point shots consistently, he'll really improve the Celtics' spacing on offense.
Ginobili finished 3 for 6 on 3s while scoring 14 points, including six in 31 seconds in the first quarter.
"I was like, no way I'm missing this one", Brown said. Everything that happened before it didn't matter. We got a great shot. Kristaps Porzingis led the team with 28 points on nine of 19 shooting, Enes Kanter finished with a monster double-double of 20 points with 20 rebounds and five assists while Tim Hardaway Jr chipped in with 15 points. Will Barton had 19 points, Mason Plumlee had 16 before leaving with a calf injury, Gary Harris scored 15 and Jamal Murray had 14.
Going into halftime, the Celtics led 56-45 behind strong transitional defense and consistent scoring.
And that message is not lost on the players, who have bought into it with little to no resistance. The problem continues to be how infrequently they play that well for a full game. Daniel Theis added 11 points and Al Horford tallied 10 for the Celtics, who were 17-of-36 from 3-point range. F Wilson Chandler sat out with an illness.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) - After their recent struggles offensively, the Spurs welcomed the chance to match baskets with the Denver Nuggets and play at a fast pace.
Spurs defense - It's hardly ideal for a worn out Nuggets team to go back on the road to face that formidable Spurs defense.
"I'm just happy because we played a great first half", Horford said.
Part of the problem is how much they rely on the three pointer.
Celtics: Host the New York Knicks on Wednesday to open a three-game homestand.