Jaylen Brown converted the decisive 3-pointer and Kyrie Irving scored 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting as the Boston Celtics eked out a 111-110 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Monday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Jayson Tatum scored 20 points and Marcus Morris added 14 for Boston, which won for just the second time in the past seven games. Daniel Theis added 11 points and Al Horford tallied 10 for the Celtics, who were 17-of-36 from 3-point range.
Nikola Jokic had 24 points and 11 rebounds and Trey Lyles scored 20 points for the Nuggets. Will Barton had 19 points, Mason Plumlee had 16 before leaving with a calf injury, Gary Harris scored 15 and Jamal Murray had 14.
The contest was tied at 108 when Brown received a pass in the left corner and lofted the winning shot. The ball went in-and-out and touched off the glass and went back in with 33.3 seconds to play.
Murray scored on a layup with 28.1 seconds left to get Denver back within one. Irving missed a jumper with 7.2 seconds left and the Nuggets’ chance for a season-best fourth straight win came up empty when Barton’s last-second 3-point attempt didn’t even hit the rim.
The Nuggets led by six early in the fourth quarter before Boston recovered, eventually recording a 14-3 burst to take a 99-93 lead on Irving’s fast-break layup with 5:41 to play. Denver fought back within 101-100 on two free throws by Jokic before the Celtics used a 7-2 push to take a six-point lead.
Harris and Lyles scored back-to-back baskets to cut Boston’s lead to 108-106. Irving’s short bank shot was overturned by review as a 24-second shot-clock violation and Murray converted the tying basket with 43.1 seconds left.
Denver trailed by 11 at halftime but outplayed the Celtics over the final 8 1/2 minutes of the third quarter to take an 82-80 lead.
Boston led 66-56 after a basket by Aron Baynes with 8:39 to play before the Nuggets erupted on a 13-2 burst. Murray ended the surge with a 3-pointer to give Denver a 69-68 advantage.
Barton’s layup with 1.3 seconds remaining gave the Nuggets the two-point lead entering the final stanza.
Irving scored 15 first-half points on 6-of-7 shooting as the Celtics held a 56-45 halftime lead.
Boston, which was 10-of-21 from 3-point range in the half, was a torrid 7-of-11 in the first quarter while taking a 32-21 lead.
—Field Level Media