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February 21, 2024

Nuggets Snap Celtics’ Home Win Streak on Jokić’s Last-Second Heroics

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Jan 20, 2024

Back-and-Forth Battle Goes Down to the Wire

The Denver Nuggets ended the Boston Celtics’ 27-game home winning streak in dramatic fashion Friday night, with Nikola Jokić hitting a fadeaway jumper as time expired to give the Nuggets a 102-100 victory.

In a matchup between the previous two NBA champions, two of the league’s biggest stars in Jokić and Jayson Tatum dueled throughout the game. Tatum finished with a game-high 34 points, while Jokić had 30 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists for the visiting Nuggets.

“That was amazing,” Jokić said afterwards. “I mean, overtime maybe would have been better for TV, but for us this was perfect.”

The game featured 10 ties and 12 lead changes overall. The Celtics’ largest lead was just seven points, while Denver’s biggest edge was six.

It was a one-possession game throughout the entire fourth quarter before Jamal Murray’s jumper with 33 seconds left put the Nuggets up 100-98. Jaylen Brown answered with a dunk to tie it with 18 seconds on the clock, setting the stage for Jokić’s heroics.

“That’s the best atmosphere I’ve played in in my whole career,” said Murray, who scored 22 points. “But we didn’t back down.”

C’s Dominant at Home Entering Tonight

The Celtics brought a perfect 20-0 record at TD Garden into Friday’s showdown. They hadn’t lost in their building since last postseason.

“We knew their crowd was going to be loud and give us their best shot,” Nuggets head coach Mike Malone noted in his postgame press conference. “Ending a streak like that, in this atmosphere, it shows the mettle of our guys.”

Boston’s average margin of victory during its streak was 12.4 points. The previous closest game resulted in a seven-point win over Philadelphia back on December 23.

“Yeah that stings, 27 straight wins at home and we finally took one on the chin,” Celtics forward Al Horford said afterward. “But take nothing away from Denver, they’re the champs for a reason.”

In their past 10 games overall entering tonight, Boston was a perfect 10-0 while outscoring opponents by 14.6 points per contest.

Title Rematch of 2023 NBA Finals?

With two of the NBA’s best teams and MVP candidates facing off, Friday’s matchup could serve as a preview of this season’s championship series.

The Nuggets are the defending champions after beating the Celtics in six games last June. Jokić took home Finals MVP honors by averaging 29.7 points, 11.0 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game.

This year, Denver is once again positioned near the top of the Western Conference while Boston sits with the NBA’s best record at 32-10.

“We know we’ll probably have to go through them to lift that trophy again,” Murray said. “Games like this will get us ready.”

Celtics star Jayson Tatum, runner-up to Jokić in last season’s MVP voting, is making a case to win the award this year. He entered Friday first in scoring (31.2 PPG) while shooting over 50% from the field.

“I still think about that Finals loss all the time. All the time,” Tatum reiterated. “We’d love another shot at them.”

What This Means Going Forward

By taking down the team with the league’s best home record on their own court, the Nuggets showed they still have what it takes to win tough games in hostile territory.

“It’s a great confidence booster for us,” coach Malone said. “We also ended Golden State’s home streak earlier this month. So we’ve shown we can win big games on the road.”

For Boston, it was a reminder they still have room to grow despite their lofty record. The Celtics are just 10-8 against teams above .500 this season.

“We need games like this to test ourselves against the elite teams,” Horford noted after the loss. “I’m sure we’ll see them again down the line.”

With the All-Star break on the horizon, both teams should feel good about where they stand. And basketball fans should feel even better knowing we could get a rematch of last year’s Finals come June.


Team 1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q Final
Nuggets 23 27 29 23 102
Celtics 25 23 25 27 100

More News and Reactions

“That might be the game of the year so far,” LeBron James tweeted after the thriller. “Two heavyweights going at it! Jok with the game-winner! Sheesh.”

“I feel bad for those who missed this game,” Kevin Durant added. “Two championship contenders giving us a show.”

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that over 100 members of the media were credentialed for the highly anticipated matchup.

According to Nuggets beat reporter Mike Singer, it was the first time Denver has won in Boston since March 2021.

Celticsblog’s Keith Smith noted it was also Boston’s first home loss on a Friday night since April 2021 – snapping a streak of 44 straight Friday wins.

What’s Next

The Nuggets continue their road trip Sunday night against the New York Knicks at historic Madison Square Garden. Opening tip is scheduled for 6 PM Eastern.

Meanwhile, the Celtics will try to start a new home winning streak next Tuesday when Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks visit TD Garden. That game will air on TNT at 7:30 PM Eastern.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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