Nikola Jokic scored 18 points, collected a season-best 16 rebounds and also had 10 assists and three steals during his third triple-double of the season to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 106-102 victory over the visiting Boston Celtics on Friday night.
The game was marred with a scary incident that led to Boston guard Kemba Walker being taken off the court on a stretcher with 3:13 remaining in the second quarter. The Celtics later announced that Walker was diagnosed with “concussion-like symptoms” and was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation.
Denver’s Jamal Murray recorded a team-high 22 points to go with six rebounds and five assists as the Nuggets won their fourth straight game and eighth in the past nine. Will Barton added 15 points, and Paul Millsap contributed 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Jaylen Brown had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Jayson Tatum added 16 points for the Celtics, who have lost three of their past four games following a 10-game winning streak. Marcus Smart scored 15 points, and Brad Wanamaker added 14.
The Celtics were on defense when Walker attempted to steal the ball. He had his head down and slammed head-first into the stomach of teammate Semi Ojeleye.
Walker lay motionless for at least five minutes, and paramedics put a neck brace on him before he eventually was removed from the floor. The three-time All-Star finished the night scoreless in 12 minutes.
Boston shot just 40.7 percent from the field, including 7 of 27 from 3-point range.
The Nuggets owned a 48-40 rebounding edge while shooting 44.3 percent from the floor and 7 of 28 from behind the arc.
The Celtics trailed by 19 points in the middle of the third quarter before eventually pulling within one on three occasions in the final five minutes.
Denver answered the third time with a 7-2 run, capped by Millsap’s corner 3-pointer that made it 91-85 with 45.3 seconds left, and the Nuggets went on to close out the triumph.
Barton scored 11 first-half points as Denver took a 45-34 lead into the break.
The Nuggets led by 16 points before the game was 11 minutes old and settled for a 27-13 lead at the end of the opening quarter. The advantage was 17 before the Celtics scored 11 straight points to pull within 36-30 just before Walker’s injury.
Denver increased its lead to 59-40 on Millsap’s layup with 6:33 remaining in the third quarter. The lead was 70-57 entering the final stanza.
—Field Level Media