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Fast Break: Celtics vs. Nuggets

02.21.10 at 6:23 pm ET
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The Celtics came into Denver on a three-game winning streak. They go back to Boston on a one-game skid.

The C’€™s lost to the Nuggets, 114-105, on Sunday to cap off their post-All Star Game road trip with a 3-1 mark.

The final score is deceiving, though ‘€” this game was closer than it appears. The Celtics overcame a 20-point deficit to tie the game up in the third, and looked poised to make a comeback while the Nuggets looked complacent on defense. But Denver reverted to the energy level that put them up early and pulled ahead for a double-digit victory.

Player of the Game: Chauncey Billups provided veteran leadership early on and was the driving force behind the Nuggets early advantage. He finished with a game-high 26 points, including a perfect 10-for-10 from the line. The most impressive note? He scored 26 in 32 minutes. Carmelo Antony scored 23 in 43 minutes.

Turning Point: After tying the game at 66 with 4:56 left in the third, the Celtics fell flat. The Nuggets went on a 16-7 run to close out the quarter and take an 82-73 lead. Anthony scored six points during that stretch. The Celtics were never able to overcome the deficit in the fourth.

‘€¢Paul Pierce (sprained thumb) struggled offensively. He shot 1-for-6 in the first half and finished the game with just five points (2-10 FG, 0-2 3PG, 1-4 FT).

‘€¢Kevin Garnett looked like, well, Kevin Garnett. From blocked shots to turnaround jumpers to no-look passes, Garnett played with the level of energy the Celtics have needed this season. He scored 15 points (7-13 FG).

‘€¢Ray Allen continued to improve on this road trip. He scored a team-high 25 points, including 17 in the first half alone.

‘€¢J.R. Smith scored 19 points off the bench for the Nuggets and closed the door on the Celtics late in the game. He hit five 3-pointers, three more than the entire Celtics squad.

Third quarter wrap: Celtics vs. Nuggets

02.21.10 at 5:37 pm ET
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The Celtics entered the third quarter trailing 54-47 and came out of halftime on a tear. They tied the game at 66 apiece off of a Marquis Daniels layin from Rajon Rondo. But the Nuggets buckled down, outscoring the Celtics 16-7 after that point. They lead 82-73 after three quarters.

Kevin Garnett was a bright spot for the Celtics in the third. From turnaround jumpers to blocked shots to no-look assists, Garnett is playing with energy the C’s  have been looking for. He has scored 12 points off of 6-for-11 field goal shooting.

Second quarter wrap: Celtics vs. Nuggets

02.21.10 at 4:47 pm ET
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After giving up a season-high 37 points in the first quarter, the Celtics came out aggressive in the second. The second unit stepped up and the C’s outscored the Nuggets 16-7 in the first 4:25 alone to cut the deficit to single digits.

A moment of contention came late in the quarter when a Celtics 4-2 fast break situation was interrupted by a technical foul whistled against George Karl. The Nuggets coach was arguing the lack of goaltending call against Kevin Garnett when he got T’€™ed up mid-play. Karl argued the T, Rivers argued the delay.

But the interruption didn’t stop the Celtics run. They closed out the first half down just seven, 54-47. Ray Allen leads all players with 17 points.

First quarter wrap: Celtics vs. Nuggets

02.21.10 at 4:08 pm ET
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The Celtics came into Denver looking to go a perfect 4-0 on their West Coast road trip. They got off to a rocky start. The Nuggets jumped out to a 17-8 lead in the first six minutes, a stretch in which Chauncey Billups scored seven points off of perfect shooting (3-3 FG, 1-1 FT).

A mid-quarter timeout did little to help the Celtics gain momentum. The Nuggets doubled the C’€™s scoring total, 28-14, before Doc Rivers turned to the bench. Tony Allen, Rasheed Wallace, and Glen Davis were not the answers either. The Celtics gave up a season-high 37 points in the first quarter and trail 37-19.

Fast Break: Celtics regain luster against Blazers

02.20.10 at 1:12 am ET
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When the Celtics went out on their annual West Coast swing following the All-Star break, they were a team that was searching for itself. A narrow win over the Kings gave them some much-needed relief. A win over the Lakers gave them a much-needed victory over an elite team.

But it was Friday night against Portland, in the second game of a back-to-back, that the Celtics finally started to look like the Celtics of old in a 96-76 victory. (Recap.)

The Celtics put together a complete game that featured strong shooting (53.4 percent), low turnovers (11), solid rebounding and, most of all, defense. The Blazers shot just 34 percent for the game and scored just 15 points in the fourth quarter and 13 in the second.

The Celtics looked sharp early, making 14 of their first 18 shots. Kevin Garnett, in particular, was strong as he made his first six shots while Rajon Rondo had six assists in the first quarter. The Celtics then put the clamps down defensively, holding the Blazers to just three field goals in the quarter to take a 56-38 lead into halftime.

The Blazers closed to within nine early in the fourth quarter, but Ray Allen scored 11 of the next 14 points as part of a 14-2 run to put the game away. Allen led all scorers with 21 points and was 9-for-14 from the floor.

Turning Point: Portland scored just six points in the first six minutes of the second quarter as the Celtics built a 45-31 lead with their second unit. The starters picked it up from there as Garnett knocked down his first 3-pointer of the season on a desperation heave as the shot clock expired. Garnett followed that with a length-of-the-floor layup off a feed from Rondo.

Player of the Game: Rajon Rondo once again controlled the Celtics offense with 10 points and 11 assists in only 31 minutes.

* The Celtics’ physical defense got to the Blazers late in the first half as Kendrick Perkins and Andre Miller became entangled under the basket. Perkins and Juwan Howard were assessed double technical fouls.

* Rondo and Rasheed Wallace both picked up technical fouls in the third quarter. Wallace had his technical from Thursday night rescinded. Assuming he keeps this one, Wallace now has 13 technical fouls this season. His 16th would trigger an automatic suspension.

* The second unit played well with a combined 33 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. Glen Davis was a force around the basket in the fourth quarter while the Celtics were able to pull away.

* Thanks to the lopsided final, Garnett played just 21 minutes, but he still scored 16 points and had seven rebounds.

* Paul Pierce was a game-time decision, but was in the starting lineup as usual. He scored just nine points on 3-for-9 shooting in 26 minutes. Danny Ainge said on The Big Show that Pierce was still fighting through his foot injury. (Click here for a full transcript of Ainge’s appearance Friday.)

* Portland’€™s Brandon Roy, who is dealing with a hamstring injury, also started. The Blazers had new addition Marcus Camby in the starting lineup, as well.

* Nate Robinson did not play and will likely miss Sunday’s game with the Nuggets as well. Robinson has had the flu. The other new Celtic, Marcus Landry, is also not expected to join the team until Tuesday, when they both newcomers are scheduled to make their debuts against their old team when the Knicks come to town.

Read More: Kevin Garnett, Nate Robinson, Portland Trail Blazers, Rajon Rondo

Third quarter wrap: Celtics-Blazers

02.20.10 at 12:36 am ET
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The defensive effort that the Celtics rode in the second quarter carried over to the third as they maintained a 73-61 lead despite struggling on offense. The Celtics scored just 17 points in the quarter, but they have held Portland to 34 percent shooting through three quarters.

Rajon Rondo and Rasheed Wallace both picked up technical fouls in the quarter. Wallace had his technical from Thursday night rescinded. Assuming he keeps this one, he now has 13 technical fouls this season. His 16th would trigger an automatic suspension.

Portland got two cheap points late in the quarter as Brian Scalabrine threw an errant inbounds pass under his own basket that was picked off by Jerryd Bayless, who then converted a layup.

Read More: Celtics, Portland Trail Blazers,

Halftime wrap: Celtics vs. Blazers

02.19.10 at 11:43 pm ET
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After a hot start offensively, the Celtics put the clamps down defensively, holding the Blazers to just three field goals in the quarter to take a 56-38 lead into halftime.

Portland scored just six points in the first six minutes of the quarter as the Celtics built a 45-31 lead with their second unit. The starters picked it up from there as Kevin Garnett knocked down his first 3-pointer of the season on a desperation heave as the shot clock expired. Garnett followed that with a length-of-the-floor layup off a feed from Rajon Rondo.

The Celtics physical defense got to the Blazers late in the half as Kendrick Perkins and Andre Miller became entangled under the basket. Perkins and Juwan Howard were assessed double technical fouls

Rondo capped off the quarter with a buzzer-beating 20-foot jump shot. He has eight points and nine assists, while Garnett leads all scorers with 13 points and seven rebounds.

Read More: Blazers, Celtics,
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