Boston Celtics

Porzingis wants to see Nuggets in Finals: ‘Going to be chess match'

"[Jokic] is the best player in the world."

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The Boston Celtics suffered their first home loss of the season, 102-100, at the hands of the Denver Nuggets on Friday night, ending their 20-game win streak at TD Garden.

From the jump, the night was all about Denver's Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, who scored 34 and 35 points, respectively. Boston was led by All-Star candidate Derrick White's 24 points, while stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown struggled to start the game, ending with 22 and 14, respectively.

Following a tightly contested game that emulated a playoff environment, Kristaps Porzingis spoke to the media on what he took away from the defeat.

"[Denver] is a real team," The 7-footer said. "This is last year's champs -- that's where we want to be."

Porzingis logged another solid night, adding on to what's been a fantastic season for the Latvian. In 26 minutes, the former fourth overall pick logged 21 points on 6-of-11 from the field and 3-of-5 from deep, eight rebounds, two assists, and a block -- all at or above his season averages.

“If we see them in the postseason it’s going to be a big chess match," Porzingis added.

Even after Friday's loss, the Celtics still own the first seed in the Eastern Conference with a 32-10 record, 3.5 games ahead of the second-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. Meanwhile, in the Western Conference, the Nuggets sit in third place, still two games out of first place. Both teams are considered juggernauts in their respective conferences, and a Finals matchup between the two would not be surprising to most.

In what was a lower-scoring game for the Celtics this season, both defensively and offensively, Boston just couldn't find a way to stop Jokic, who converted on 14 of his 22 attempts from the field. While close in size, Porzingis couldn't find a way to slow the Serbian national down.

"He is pure basketball talent, he's a pure basketball mastermind," Porzingis said of Jokic. "He's the best player in the world. He's just so crafty, he almost makes you fall asleep -- like, he's not doing anything, and then he just slides by you."

Porzingis also confirmed that the game plan on defense was to force Jokic into one-on-one matchups against himself, but credited Jokic's ability to continue to hit tough shots over him.

While this was only their first time meeting this season, the two will have another chance for a regular-season rematch on March 7 in Denver.

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