Denver 114, Boston Celtics 105
When: 7:30 PM ET, Monday, March 18, 2019
Where: TD Garden, Boston
Recap for Digital Sports Desk by Field Level Media
BOSTON – Nikola Jokic had 21 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists, and the Denver Nuggets beat the host Boston Celtics 114-105 on Monday night to clinch a playoff berth.
Will Barton had 20 points, Gary Harris added 16 and Paul Millsap had 12 points and 11 rebounds for Denver, which is back in the postseason for the first time since 2013.
The Nuggets (47-22) swept the season series from Boston and surpassed their win total from last season with 13 games to go. Denver needs just 10 wins to match the franchise record for a season set in 2012-13.
Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with a game-high 30 points and Al Horford scored 20. Boston played without Gordon Hayward, who left Saturday’s game against Atlanta with a neck strain.
The game was tied at 80 entering the fourth quarter but Denver started to slowly pull away. Monte Morris fed Mason Plumlee for an alley-oop and hit two buckets as part of an 11-2 run to start the period.
Horford and Terry Rozier hit 3-pointers to pull the Celtics within 93-90 with 7:30 left in the game. Jokic made two 3-pointers and Malik Beasley had a layup to give Denver a 101-92 lead.
After another jumper by Irving, Harris had a 3-pointer and a short jumper to give Denver a 106-94 lead with 3:47 left.
Boston made one last push. Irving hit two free throws, Marcus Smart had a basket and Irving hit a corner 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 106-101 with 1:22 left.
Barton answered with a basket and after Horford missed a 3-pointer, Millsap was fouled as he was draining a 3-pointer with 31.3 seconds left. He hit the free throw to give the Nuggets a 112-101 lead. Smart dunked and Jaylen Brown stole the inbounds pass and scored to make it 112-105, but Denver was able to close it out.
The Nuggets outrebounded Boston 51-37 with no Celtics player grabbing more than seven. Denver’s Torrey Craig came off the bench with eight rebounds to go with 13 points.
The Celtics organization paid tribute to Isaiah Thomas for his outstanding play during his tenure in Boston.
–Field Level Media