The Boston Celtics passed their test and beat the Denver Nuggets last night 106-98. Jordan Crawford led the team with 22 points and eight assists. Avery Bradley scored 13 points in the first quarter and finished with a total of 18. The Celtics badly needed a spark off the bench, and Kris Humphries filled that role by scoring 18 points and grabbing 7 boards. Blame the win on anything you want, whether it’s the Celtics defense, poor performance by Denver, or Ty Lawson getting injured on a verge of 4th quarter run. However you want to look at the victory, there is one thing we know about this team — it plays together. The Celtics have the one thing that most teams strive all year to find — chemistry. It was apparent and on display last night.
For most of the game, the Celtics played beautiful team basketball. Ball movement fueled the offense as the Celtics had 25 assists on 43 field goals. The passing game created high-percentage shots and led the Celtics to shoot 51 percent from the field. The terrific shooting caused the inside game to flourish. Boston took care of the basketball and only had nine turnovers. The Celtics stayed aggressive and attacked the rim, and it was great, team-oriented basketball.
The defense, likewise, was an outstanding team effort; the rotations were timely and effective. Bradley was able to contain Lawson; later in the game, when the Celtics had a big lead, Lawson did inevitably erupt, especially against the bench, but Celtics showed fortitude and held on to the lead. Boston forced 14 turnovers and held the Nuggets to 98 points. Holding the Nuggets to under 100 points is always evidence of a solid effort. The Celtics’ strong defense has been a result of working together and trusting each other.
Jeff Green Watch
Jeff Green has put together five solid games in a row; he only scored 15 points on 6-of-13 from the field, but he was aggressive and wanted the ball in his hands. He was involved in the offense all night. Again, more shots and points in the high 20’s would be ideal, but he might not get those opportunities until Rajon Rondo is back facilitating the offense.
Whatever Brad Stevens is doing, this Celtics team is buying into it. The unselfish brand of basketball that this team plays with has the potential to take them a long way this season. Stevens’ trust in this team is evident, and it seems to be contagious. Everyone competes together, trusts each other, and is unselfish. This is a very special Celtics team that could surprise some people this year.