Celtics-Nuggets takeaways: Jaylen finding his groove as C's surge continues


Another night, another blowout victory for the Boston Celtics.

The C's continued their trip out west Sunday in Denver and took down the Nuggets, 124-104. It was their third consecutive win and their 21st in their last 25 games.

Forsberg: This Tatum-led lineup is Celtics' new secret weapon

Boston took over in the second quarter with a 28-5 run and entered the half with a 25-point lead. All three of its wins on the road trip have come by at least 20 points.

Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum made it back-to-back games with 30+ points apiece. Payton Pritchard highlighted an outstanding performance from the Celtics bench with 17 points while going a perfect 5-for-5 from 3-point range.

Reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic dropped a team-high 23 points for Denver.

Here are a few instant takeaways from another impressive C's victory, which brings them to 44-28 on the campaign and only a half-game back of the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. They'll travel to Oklahoma City for the second night of a back-to-back vs. the Thunder.

Jaylen Brown finding his groove

The road trip apparently was just what the doctor ordered for Jaylen Brown.

The Celtics star had been slumping earlier this month, but he's been on fire ever since Boston headed out west. Brown has scored 26, 30, and 30 points over his last three games while shooting 43%, 61%, and 63% from the field.

In Sunday's win, Brown notched 30 points (12-19 FG) and six rebounds before head coach Ime Udoka took out his starters in the fourth quarter.

Brown hitting his stride is a scary sight for the rest of the league. Tatum already was playing at an MVP level, and now both C's All-Stars are leading the way to help Boston blow teams out amid their unstoppable stretch.

With their 30-point performances Sunday, Tatum and Brown made it six games this season in which they both dropped at least 30. That's the most of any duo in the NBA.

Celtics bench puts on a show

Outside of Brown's performance and Tatum passing Ray Allen on the C's all-time 3-pointer list, Boston's second unit was the story.

Payton Pritchard remains one of the hottest shooters in the game from beyond the arc. The second-year guard went 5-for-5 from 3-point range and was key to the Celtics maintaining their comfortable lead over the Denver.

Pritchard has been sensational during the road trip. He scored a team-high 10 points in the fourth quarter of Wednesday's win over Golden State, then put up 31 points on a perfect 9-for-9 from 3 over his next two games. He's the fourth player in NBA history (and first Celtic) to make at least four 3s without a miss in consecutive games, per Celtics.com's Taylor Snow.

Pritchard's confidence has skyrocketed over the course of the season, and that's a great sign for Boston heading into the playoffs.

Grant Williams also stood out for the Celtics in the win with 13 points, six rebounds, and two blocks. The 23-year-old helped to limit Jokic and keep the Nuggets offense in check throughout the game.

Daniel Theis and Derrick White added seven and six points, respectively. As a unit, the Celtics bench tallied 43 points on 15-of-28 shooting.

C's defense neutralizes Nikola Jokic

Keeping Jokic in check has proven to be a near-impossible task for the rest of the NBA, but this Celtics defense is different.

The reigning MVP struggled mightily, especially in the first half when he shot just 5-for-19 from the field. He finished with 23 points and his lowest field goal percentage (34.8%) in a game this season.

Nuggets head coach Michael Malone sat Jokic and the rest of the starters to start the second half. The message was received as Jokic and the Denver offense improved in the third and fourth quarters, but by then it was too little, too late.

Contact Us