Celtics hold off Nuggets following furious second-half rally

Kyrie Irving

Irving led the C's with 27 points in a 111-110 win over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night to close a hard road trip at 2-2.

While Brown hit the shot that won Monday's game, the Celtics were paced, again, by guard Kyrie Irving, who led the way with 27 points and six assists. "We missed some defensive assignments, and I thought we missed some good opportunities on offense, but they found a way".

Afterward, Denver coach Michael Malone defended his decision not to use a timeout to set something up.

Murray scored on a layup with 28.1 seconds left to get Denver back within one.

Irving finished 11 of 17 from the field to lead the Celtics.

All five Denver starters scored in double figures, led by Jamal Murray's 18 points. Monday night was a step in the right direction, though, as Tatum scored 20 points for the first time since Christmas Day. "If we have the same focus that we've had over the last three games, even though they haven't resulted everyone in a win, I feel we'll be in a great position to be successful".

After the game, Kanter, asked about the possibility of replacing the injured Kevin Love on the LeBron James All-Star team, laughed and said, "I might ask for a trade".

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The Nuggets had run into a nice groove with three straight wins prior to yesterday's loss to the Celtics, though Chandler's role with the team has certainly diminished, as he's averaging single digits scoring for the first time since his rookie season.

Boston's defense stifled the Nuggets while building a 20-point lead in the first half, prompting the green-clad fans that peppered the stands to break into chants of "Let's go Celtics!".

Nikola Jokic had a double-double by the first minute of the second half for Denver, finishing with 24 points and 11 rebounds. After scoring less than 10 points in just six of Boston's first 40 games, he's scored less than 10 four times in 11 January games. Morris wasn't his normal self in the beginning of the season because of a knee injury, but he appears to be close to full strength right now given his energy and ability to play close to 30 minutes. "So it's going to be tough, but we need to go without him".

It has been a nightmare for Kristaps Porzingis in his two games aginst the Celtics this season.

Things started to brighten up for the Celtics when Irving kisses one off the glass, with Horford knocking down a three on the next procession, giving them a 108-102 lead with a little more than two minutes to play. "I'm just proud of the guy". They'll have a chance to string together some wins over the next week, with the Knicks, Hawks, and Blazers visiting Boston.

The Denver Nuggets (26-24) will try to end their five-game road losing streak in a matchup against the San Antonio Spurs (33-19) at AT&T Center. Much like Denver, games featuring the Spurs also have a tendency to finish under the projected point total (57.7 percent).

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