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Jokic, Nuggets hand Celtics first loss at home this season, 102-100

Denver Nuggets v Boston Celtics

BOSTON (AP) — The Denver Nuggets felt they let a winnable game slip away in the closing minutes during a narrow loss at Philadelphia earlier this week.

They found themselves in a similar situation late against one of the NBA’s top teams and made sure not to let it happen again.

Jamal Murray scored 35 points, Nikola Jokic finished with 34 and Denver held on to hand the Boston Celtics their first home loss of the season, 102-100 on Friday night.

“Both teams were countering each other,” Murray said. “Both throwing haymakers and we were able to have the final punch.”

Jokic added 12 rebounds and nine assists to help the defending NBA champions end the Celtics’ streak at 20 home victories. It was the first of two regular-season meetings between teams with sights on representing their respective conferences in the NBA Finals. They play again in Denver on March 7.

Jayson Tatum had a chance to tie it in the closing seconds, but he missed a one-legged fadeaway off the rim that was contested by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. He finished with 22 points and eight rebounds. Derrick White had 24 points and Kristaps Porzingis added 21.

“I think I kind of rushed it, and that’s on me,” Tatum said. “I had more time than I gave myself.”

Jokic, the two-time NBA MVP, feasted on a Celtics defense that opted not to double-team him for most of the game. He was efficient, connecting on 14 of 22 field attempts. It also didn’t stop him from finding his teammates, as he had nine of his assists in the first three quarters. Murray also played solid, going 15 of 22 from the field.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone said it was a needed effort against a Boston defense that entered ranked third in the league in defensive efficiency.

“They played for themselves and they played for other people,” Malone said. “It was high-level basketball from two All-Star players.”

It was even more impressive by Jokic, who was playing in the aftermath of the sudden death of Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milosevic on Wednesday. Milosevic coached Jokic in Serbia.

Murray said Jokic’s response on the court while absorbing the…


Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/jokic-nuggets-hand-celtics-first-063903910.html

Author : NBC Sports

Publish date : 2024-01-20 06:39:03

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