The Boston Celtics will try to continue their recent success as they take on the Denver Nuggets at the TD Garden tonight. The Celtics currently hold a 8-12 record and in first place in the Atlantic Division. The Nuggets are currently 11-7 and in 3rd place in the Northwest Division. It will be an interesting game as it will be a battle of rookie coaches in Brad Stevens versus Brian Shaw in Boston tonight.
The Celtics have won four of their last six games and hold a 1/2 game lead over the Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors in the Atlantic Division. The Celtics are coming off a 108-100 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night at the Garden where Jordan Crawford led the way with 25 points. Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee all were in double figures for the win as well. The Celtics were shooting the ball very well on Tuesday at 49 percent from the floor with 11 3-point shots made to split the home-and-home series with the Bucks.
The Denver Nuggets had their 7-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday night after a 98-88 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was definitely an off night for the Nuggets as they had a season low in points scored and only shot 39 percent from the floor. The Nuggets are currently on a road trip against Eastern Conference and will head to Philadelphia and Washington before flying back to the Mile High City.
If the Celtics are going to pull off this victory, they will have to keep Ty Lawson at bay as he is Denver’s points (19.3) and assists (8.2) leader. Kenneth Faried is currently Denver’s rebounding leader averaging 8.8 rebounds per game, but has been bothered by bad quadriceps during the road trip. Good news for the Celtics is that Denver’s other strong rebounder JaVale McGee will not play against the Celtics as he recovering from a stress fracture in his left leg. Bad news for the Celtics is that they were hoping to have Kelly Olynyk back tonight, but team doctors have decided to keep him out for at least one more week as he recovers from a sprained ankle two weeks ago against the Indiana Pacers.
The Celtics have played very well against the Nuggets at the TD Garden as they have won 13 out of 15 games, including the triple overtime win last season. The Nuggets run a very fast-paced offense, so the Celtics will have to keep their already strong defense locked down tonight. If I had it my way, I would match up Avery Bradley against Ty Lawson defensively so he doesn’t have any room to breathe running the offense. Not to discredit Jordan Crawford’s ability to play defense, but Avery Bradley is one of the best one-on-one defenders in the league and that would be a benefit to the Celtics. But I’m not in charge of coaching decisions, that’s up to Brad Stevens. All of the Celtics’ big men will have to step it up and keep grabbing rebounds the way they have been, so Kenneth Faried can’t give the Nuggets any additional scoring opportunities. If the Celtics can play the cards right, they will have a good chance at beating the Nuggets.