Celtics allow season-worst 129 points in blowout loss in Denver
|01.07.14 at 11:32 pm ET|
Tuesday night’s matchup with the Nuggets looked like an opportunity for the Celtics to snap their four-game losing streak and cease their recent struggles against Western Conference foes. Boston faced a sub-.500 Denver team just two games removed from an eight-game losing streak that recently faced some internal issues with the temporary dismissal of veteran guard Andre Miller.
That optimism seems silly in retrospect as Denver steamrolled Boston, 129-98, to hand the C’s their fifth straight defeat and eighth in nine games.
Randy Foye lit up the Celtics defense with 23 points and seven 3-pointers, while Ty Lawson (19 points, 13 assists) and Kenneth Faried (19 points, 13 rebounds) aided the easy victory with double-doubles. J.J. Hickson (17 points), Wilson Chandler (11 points) and Nate Robinson (10 points) also reached double figures.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE CELTICS
West woes: Boston’s struggles when visiting Western Conference teams is bordering on comedic. With Tuesday’s loss, the Celtics have now dropped all six road games versus Western Conference teams this year, and the last 11 road games dating back to last season. Additionally, Boston is now 2-10 against Western Conference foes this season. It doesn’t get any easier for the Celtics as they wrap up their road trip vs. the Clippers (24-13), Warriors (24-13) and Trail Blazers (26-9).
Slow start: The Celtics put together quite possibly their ugliest half of basketball this season. They trailed 68-45 after 24 minutes of play, and the 68 first-half points allowed tied a season-worst for Boston and equaled a season-best for the Nuggets. Seven Denver players scored at least six points with Lawson (12 points, nine assists) and Foye (14 points, four 3-pointers) leading the way. The Nuggets nailed 10 3-pointers in the half. The Celtics’ offense matched the defense’s inferiority, as they shot 34.7 percent from the field, and committed 10 turnovers (eight in the first quarter).
Sullinger ejected: Jared Sullinger was whistled for a pair of flagrant 1 fouls within 25 seconds of each other and promptly ejected at the 8:42 mark of the third quarter. Sullinger committed his first violation when he thwarted a would-be dunk by Hickson with a two-hand takedown. Seconds later, Sullinger, working on the offensive side of the ball, dealt Hickson a steely elbow to the side of the head. The officials reviewed the foul before deeming it egregious enough to warrant a flagrant 1 and sent the second-year forward to the showers early. He finished with eight points and seven rebounds in 14 minutes.
Humphries out: The Celtics were missing their most effective bench player, Kris Humphries, who sat out with an ankle injury. The 6-foot-11 forward was averaging 9.8 points per game on 56 percent shooting, and 6.9 rebounds in his last 10 games. Humphries absence left Kelly Olynyk and Faverani to man the front court bench spots. Faverani scored 10 points, his most in a game since Nov. 23, while Olynyk tallied six points and four assists.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE CELTICS
Bayless debut: While Jerryd Bayless did not enjoy a particularly ceremonious debut, he logged 24 minutes in his first appearance in a Celtics uniform. Bayless fired 11 shots but made just three for six points. He also added three assists and three steals. Bayless was acquired from the Grizzlies in a trade that sent former Celtics guard Courtney Lee to Memphis.
Green remains solid: Jeff Green poured in a team-high 17 points to continue a recent run of success. In his last three games, Green has averaged 17.3 points per game — albeit an admittedly empty figure considering he’s grabbed just six rebounds and dished five assists in three games — on 46.5 percent shooting.