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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

In 1st Game After All-Star Break, Celtics Fall To Nuggets 97-90 In Denver

After watching two Celtics-Nuggets games in the last 10 days, one thing is clear: they are very evenly matched and they play entertaining games. Last night, Boston (28-25, 8-16 away) began their five-game road trip after the All-Star Game with a 97-90 loss at the Pepsi Center. The Celts fell to 0-6 on the road this season against Western Conference teams, ouch. Denver (34-21, 23-3 home) avenged the epic 118-114 triple OT loss in Boston on February 10.

The two guys that did by far the most damage for the Nuggets were Ty Lawson (26 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists) and Danilo Gallinari (26 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists). Kenneth Faried grabbed 16 rebounds, Kosta Koufos added 11 points while Andre Miller (11 points) and Corey Brewer (10 points) had double figures off the bench.

Jeff Green led the Celts with a season-high 20 points off the bench. Avery Bradley had 17 points, Courtney Lee scored 15 points, Kevin Garnett put up 12 points and nine rebounds while Paul Pierce was held to 10 points, six rebounds and six assists.

It was a back and forth game, Boston led 22-21 after one quarter and 50-49 at halftime. Denver's strong third quarter (29-20) propelled them to the win as Boston outscored them 20-19 in the fourth quarter.

There are three statistics that show why the Nuggets won this game: they attempted 20 more free throws and hit 11 more than the Celtics, they had six more rebounds (45-39) and scored 10 more points in the paint (42-32). If you asked basketball coaches what are the three biggest indicators of hustle, those would be it.

Hopefully the C's got plenty of rest over the break because they are back in action tonight in Los Angeles (10:30 p.m., CSN) against the Lakers (25-29). Boston beat LA 116-95 at TD Garden on February 7 in a blowout that wasn't nearly that close. The additional storyline here is that this is the final game before tomorrow's NBA Trade Deadline when mercifully all the trade rumors will end. Like everyone else, I have absolutely no idea if Boston will stand pat or make some wild deals.

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