Boston Celtics

Celtics-Nuggets takeaways: Jokic, Murray hand C's their first home loss

Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray combined for 69 of Denver's 102 points.

NBC Universal, Inc.

The Boston Celtics' historic home win streak has come to an end.

In a thrilling Friday night showdown, the defending champion Denver Nuggets handed the C's their first defeat at TD Garden this season. It was a back-and-forth affair that came down to the final seconds. Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum had a chance to send it into overtime but missed the game-tying shot as time expired, resulting in a 102-100 Nuggets win.

The potential NBA Finals preview lived up to the hype with 13 lead changes and eight ties. Boston led by as many as 12 points but Denver chipped away late in the third quarter and took control in the fourth. Jamal Murray (35 points) and two-time MVP Nikola Jokic (34 points) were virtually unstoppable as they carried the Nuggets to victory.

Derrick White did his part with 24 points in a losing effort for the C's. Jayson Tatum and Kristaps Porzingis added 22 and 21 points, respectively.

Next, the C's (32-10) will hit the road to take on former head coach Ime Udoka and the Houston Rockets (19-21). Before we turn the page to that matchup, here are three takeaways from Friday's game.

Nuggets stars outshine the Jays

It was clear from the get-go that the Celtics were going to have their handful with Jokic. The five-time All-Star had his way early with 15 points in the first quarter. Boston's strategy was to force Jokic to score rather than allow him to set up his teammates with his elite passing. That plan proved to be futile.

Jokic nearly had a triple-double (30 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists) heading into the fourth quarter. He finished with 34 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists while shooting 14-of-21 from the floor (2-4 from 3).

The C's had no answer for Murray, either. The 26-year-old guard caught fire with 15 second-quarter points and stayed hot from that point on, finishing with a game-high 35. He hit 15 of his 21 shots (3-7 3-PT) while notching eight rebounds and five assists.

Jokic and Murray were a combined 29-for-42 (69 percent) from the floor and 5-for-11 (45.4 percent) from deep. Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined to shoot 15-for-43 (34.9 percent) from the floor and 2-for-17 (11.7 percent) from beyond the arc. That was the difference.

The last duo to score 30-plus points apiece vs. the Celtics was Immanuel Quickley and Julius Randle for the New York Knicks last March.

Kristaps Porzingis, Derrick White do their part

Porzingis went toe-to-toe with Jokic and carried the C's offense in a tightly contested first quarter. The Latvian big man set the tone, throwing down a dunk on the game's first possession followed by three consecutive 3-pointers for the Celtics' first 11 points.

He ended up with 15 first-quarter points -- tied for his highest-scoring quarter this season -- and 19 points at the half.

Porzingis slowed down in the second half, finishing with 21 points (6-11 FG, 3-5 3-PT), eight rebounds, two assists, and a block.

White picked up the second-half slack. The All-Defensive guard helped Boston survive another sluggish third quarter, scoring 13 of the team's 21 points in the frame. He scored or assisted on six of the Celtics' eight third-quarter makes. His effort earned him MVP chants at the free-throw line.

Home streak snapped

The longest home win streak to start a season in Celtics history is over. Boston is now 20-1 at TD Garden this season after falling to the reigning champions.

It was the 11th-best home start in NBA history. The league record is 39 straight wins, set by the San Antonio Spurs during the 2015-16 campaign.

The C's won 27 consecutive regular-season games at TD Garden dating back to last year. That marked their longest streak since they won 33 straight from Dec. 1986 to Nov. 1987.

They'll look to start a new home win streak when they host the Los Angeles Clippers next Saturday, Jan. 27. First, they'll hit the road for a three-game trip starting with a Sunday night matchup vs. the Houston Rockets.

Contact Us