The Denver Nuggets improved to 2-0 without Carmelo Anthony, defeated a trade-depleted Boston Celtics squad on Thursday night, 89-75. The Nuggets hung with the Celtics through three quarters, taking a one point lead into the fourth before pulling away down the stretch. With only nine players eligible for Thursday night’s game, the Celtics were shorthanded, and couldn’t put together a full 48 minutes in the high altitude against a Denver team determined to push the pace.
Denver finished the game on a 16-0 run to put the Celtics away, using strong defense to stymie the Celtics while putting together a scoring spurt of their own. Whether it was fatigue or tenacious defense by Denver, the Celtics were never able to get into gear, struggling in both the second and fourth quarters.
Kenyon Martin led the way for the Nuggets, scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Nene had a double-double, as well, with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Wilson Chandler added 16 points off the bench and Arron Afflalo finished with 13 points. Danilo Gallinari had a slow night in his Denver debut, scoring just two points and grabbing four rebounds.
The Celtics had five players in double-figures, led by Paul Pierce’s 17 points. Kevin Garnett added 14, Glen Davis had 11 and Ray Allen had 10 to join Piece in double-figures. Delonte West had 10 points off the bench and Chris Johnson, fresh off signing a 10-day contract, had six points. Garnett had a double-double, finishing with 13 rebounds, as well.
The Celtics fell to 41-14 with the loss as they wait for their new additions to join the team after a flurry of trades ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. The Nuggets, playing without Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups following a trade to the New York Knicks, improved to 33-25 on the year.