The Boston Celtics don’t seem to do very well in the Mile High Stadium at Denver Colorado. As a matter of fact, the Celtics have dropped 7 of the last 8 games played on the road at Colorado and overall their performance away from home has not been great. At 7-13 away for the season, things certainly move a little smoother at the Boston Garden for the Celtics but to make this even harder, the Celtics are 6-7 on the second night of back-to-back games, and after a dismal performance against the Sacramento Kings where they loss 120-95, things didn’t seem too bright for the Celtics against the Nuggets. Perhaps that’s exactly why the Denver Nuggets were able to open up a 17-point lead early in the third quarter. Keeping up with the brilliant performances he has been able to record on his rookie season, Kenneth Faried managed to turn things around early in the game with a very solid performance that included 18 points and a career-high 16 rebounds to guide the Denver Nuggets on a 98-91 win over the Boston Celtics. He was brilliant in the first quarter, recording 11 rebounds and simply outplaying most every one of the Celtics.
Then again, it was his fighting for the ball at the fourth quarter that made all the difference. Even the Celtics head coach, Doc Rivers, knew well that Faried had pulled off an amazing performance. “He outworked us, getting 11 rebounds in the first half (…) He had a rebound late in the game that was just an effort rebound where we had inside position and he outran us to the ball.” Perhaps that should had been a bit of what Rivers had wanted from his players. And it’s not as if the Celtics didn’t pull off one heck of a match. It’s just that it wasn’t enough to keep them rolling towards the end. The Celtics managed to cut down a 17-point deficit into a two-point game when Boston got their engine running in the 4th quarter. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett had 22 points each for Boston. Rajon Rondo had 12 points and 16 assists. But perhaps when the Celtics needed him more, Boston lost Paul Pierce to foul trouble and they couldn’t really work it out to take the lead in the fourth quarter. But Ty Lawson came out for the Nuggets and with a well-timed 3-pointer and an eventual layup by Faried, managed to put the game away, at least momentarily taking a 94-87 early lead.
But the battle wasn’t over and the Boston Celtics were ready to give it one more shot. The Celtics struggled at the start, missing nine of their first 14 shots and were down by 7 by the end of the first quarter. But the Nuggets simply played more consistently throughout the whole game. Denver made 5 of 9, 3-pointers, two by Gallinari. Garnett made four straight free throws to cut it to 94-91, but after forcing two missed shots, Ray Allen missed a jumper with 54 seconds left, and there was nothing left for the Celtics to turn things around.