So much talk over the last week or so has been about how horrible the Eastern conference is–especially the Atlantic division. The East currently has only three teams that are above .500 in record and the Celtics aren’t one of them.
The Nuggets were four games over .500 and currently have a stake in the playoff race in the West. But tonight, if only for this one, the Celtics prevailed over a Western conference team. The Celtics overcame their turnover problems and managed to put up some great offensive numbers.
The Celtics had 25 assists on 43 made field goals. They had five players that were in double figures and seven players with above seven points. The Celtics offense was clicking on all cylinders tonight and that was a huge reason why they won.
Even after the Nuggets tore off a big 18-4 run at the start of the second half, the Celtics still played with composure and poise, gradually gaining the lead back to eventually win it 106-98.
The top performer tonight was easily Jordan Crawford. The Celtics have been much maligned this season for not having a true point guard on the team other than Phil Pressey; who hasn’t proven that he’s a viable NBA option on a consistent basis.
Crawford stepped up and got the Celtics out to an enormous first quarter lead. He controlled the pace of the game and took the Nuggets out of their comfort zone. By the time the game was finished, he had eight assists and only two turnovers. Crawford finished with 22 points and had a huge three with just under a minute left to seal the Nuggets’ fate.
Crawford wasn’t the only player who stepped up tonight. The Celtics were going to need bench scoring to combat the scoring of the Nuggets. With that in mind, Kris Humprhies stepped up and scored 18 points on 11 shots. He had seven rebounds and two assists to boot.
The Celtics didn’t allow the Nuggets to get into a rhythm offensively by staying in their passing lanes and denying them easy looks. The Nuggets only had 11 assists to 14 turnovers tonight. That’s a winning formula for the C’s, if there ever was one.
The Celtics may not be in complete tank mode just yet, but this is fun and we should savor it while we have it. The effort that these guys gave tonight against a good basketball team was a tremendous one; they deserve to be applauded.