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Celtics Notes: Kyrie Irving's Scoring Prowess Carrying Boston During Tough Stretch

01 February, 2018, 00:56 | Author: Sylvester Abbott
  • San Antonio Spurs: Injury report vs. Nuggets features Kawhi Leonard

He had been excited this weekend about the improvements his team showed during a loss to the Golden State Warriors, but badly wanted the Celtics to finish their four-game road trip in the win column.

Kyrie Irving scored 10 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, Jaylen Brown hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 34 seconds remaining and the struggling Celtics edged the Denver Nuggets 111-110 on Monday night despite blowing a big lead.

During their last five games, the Spurs have scored an average of 99.8 points per game (1.0 below their season average) and allowed an average of 95.2 points per game (2.2 below their season average). Denver had a chance to win in dramatic fashion at the end but Torrey Craig's tip-in of Will Barton's long attempt from 3-point range was too late. Monday night was a step in the right direction, though, as Tatum scored 20 points for the first time since Christmas Day.

The veteran forward appeared in only seven games this season entering Tuesday, playing a total of 50 minutes.

"I feel like we're figuring out the faster we play, the better we are", Barton said.

Chandler should find his offensive groove eventually, but with a heavy dose of Gary Harris, Jamal Murray, and Nikola Jokic - it could be tough to find shots for an aging wing like him. The Nuggets got the defensive rebound following a missed basket by Irving with seven seconds left and they didn't call a timeout to advance ball, giving themselves a better chance to score the game victor. He followed up his triple-double against the Mavericks with 24 points, 11 boards, and five assists last night against the Celtics. But Jaylen Brown broke 108-108 tie in the final minute with a corner 3-pointer on a feed from Al Horford, and the Celtics held on for a 111-110 victory over the Nuggets that could mark the start of a nice little run now before some pivotal conference matchups next week. "We missed some defensive assignments and I thought we missed some good opportunities on offense, but they found a way".

"Just try to be creative, crafty, that is how I have seen the game of basketball my whole life, just try to use my smarts", Anderson said.

KP is first-time All-Star Kristaps Porzingis, who scored 28 points - including a career-high six 3-pointers - Tuesday night.

"The drive-and-kick at that moment, I think a lot of guys shoot that floater or kind of a lay-up, where you have to extend over somebody is not a great percentage shot, especially with guys flying in", he said.

Mason Plumlee had 16 points and eight rebounds before he left with a leg injury in the fourth.

Brad Stevens has maintained all season that as much as he wants the Celtics to win every time they step on the floor, adding growth and experience is just as important. As a team, the Celtics shot 47 percent from the field and a sizzling 17 of 36 from the three-point line but the Celtics would really have to work despite leading by as many as 20 points in the second quarter. They lost a 20-point lead, fell behind by six points in the fourth quarter, and needed big plays from a host of guys - not least among them Kyrie Irving - to regain the advantage.

Going into halftime, the Celtics led 56-45 behind strong transitional defense and consistent scoring. Morris wasn't his normal self in the beginning of the season because of a knee injury, but he appears to be close to full strength right now given his energy and ability to play close to 30 minutes. Jokic led both teams with 23 points and also had nine rebounds and seven assists.

What initially looked like a blowout snoozer suddenly turned in the third quarter when the Nuggets exploded against the Celtics' vaunted defense to outscore Boston 37-24.

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