The Celtics’ word of the day is “encouraging.”
Boston completed one heck of a comeback Sunday, topping the red-hot Nuggets 105-87 at Pepsi Center and halting Denver’s win streak at eight.
The Celtics outscored the Nuggets 31-8 in the fourth quarter, with Jayson Tatum (28 points, 10 rebounds) recording a double-double and all Boston starters scoring double figures.
Denver was in the driver’s seat for most of the game, maintaining a lead until early in the fourth quarter. It wasn’t until the 1:31 mark in the third quarter when Boston turned on the jets and went on a 9-0 run to finish the frame. The Celtics took their first lead of the game amid a 22-3 run in the fourth.
Head coach Brad Stevens lauded his players for going to “a different level” during the latter half of Sunday’s comeback victory. Stevens believes the effort the Celtics showed against a team as tough as the Nuggets is promising.
“I mean, it all worked together,” Stevens told reporters during his postgame video press conference. “… The physicality of the defense led to a more determined approach offensively, to a better shot profile offensively, to more attack offensively. And I think that was the key to the 40-11 run, or whatever it was. They missed some shots in there, but we also challenged a lot, and so that was encouraging. We played better defense of late, but again, that doesn’t mean anything Tuesday night against a really good team (Portland Trail Blazers) with special guards.”
Boston has not always been successful in completing comebacks this season, nor has it reliably held on to leads down the stretch. Sunday was different, though, and Stevens thinks it is a positive sign.
“All the good teams that I’ve been around can come back and win,” Stevens said. “So you come back in each of the last three games and win, down in the fourth quarter in all the games, that’s encouraging. But we’ll just keep trying to get better.”
Boston still remains in seventh place in the Eastern Conference but is neck-and-neck with the sixth-place Miami Heat and fifth place Charlotte Hornets, both of whom own 27-25 records.