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Denver at Boston

Celts crack Nuggets as Melo sits out

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BOSTON -- Doc Rivers decided not to tell his team that Carmelo Anthony was scratched until after the Celtics had already prepared to face the Denver Nuggets star.

He learned that lesson from Oklahoma City and Kevin Durant.

"He really didn't want to tell us that Carmelo wasn't playing," Celtics forward Paul Pierce said after Boston beat the Nuggets 105-89 on Wednesday night. "I think he waited to the very last second."

Ray Allen scored 28 points to help the Celtics take advantage of Anthony's injury and win their eighth straight game. The loss left Nuggets coach George Karl stuck on 999 wins; his next chance to reach 1,000 comes Friday at Toronto.

Kevin Garnett had 17 points and nine rebounds, and Rajon Rondo added 13 assists for Boston. Paul Pierce scored 17 and Glen "Big Baby" Davis, who had been ill during the week, had 16 points.

Reserve guard Ty Lawson scored 24 for Denver, and Arron Afflalo added 16 points. Gary Forbes, who started in place of Anthony, had five points and zero rebounds in 19 minutes.

Anthony, the No. 10 scorer in the NBA this season at 22.8 points per game, was scratched just before tip-off because of inflammation in his right knee. He is day to day.

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"I'm somewhat surprised by it," Karl said. "I kind of knew there was a chance he wouldn't go (at) about 15 minutes before the game."

It was the third time in 11 home games that the Celtics faced an opponent without its star. John Wall also missed the Washington Wizards' game in Boston, and the Thunder were without Durant, the NBA's leading scorer, when they visited on Nov. 19.

The Celtics lost that one. So Rivers tried to withhold the information, thinking it might keep his players focused.

"Yeah, they knew I was lying," he said. "The last time, it didn't work. So we tried something different."

The Celtics got all their sick and injured players back, with Rondo returning after missing Sunday's game against New Jersey, Davis making it back from an illness and Shaquille O'Neal shaking off a sore calf. Nate Robinson missed practice Tuesday for personal reasons, leaving Boston with just eight players at the workout.

But the Celtics hit their first seven shots and opened a 16-4 lead before they missed one, on Garnett's fallaway with 8:04 left in the first. The lead was 30-11 before the Nuggets began to chip away.

They outscored Boston 29-12 over the bulk of the second quarter - Lawson had 11 in the period - to pull within 51-50. But the Celtics pulled away again, getting a long 2-pointer from Allen and a pair of free throws from Pierce, and when Allen hit a layup in the closing seconds it was 59-52.

The Nuggets never got within one possession after that.

Karl's next victory would make him the seventh NBA coach to win 1,000 games. Only Phil Jackson, Pat Riley and Jerry Sloan did it in fewer games; only Riley and Lenny Wilkens hit the milestone at a younger age than the 59-year-old Karl.

A brewing altercation was quickly broken up under the Celtics' basket with 2:32 to play after Nene appeared to head-butt Davis following some jawing in the lane. The players were given matching technical fouls.

Notes

  • The Celtics just missed shooting over 70 percent in the first quarter, finishing 13 for 19 (68 percent).
  • Nuggets reserves Lawson and J.R. Smith had 13 and 12 points, respectively, in the first half.
  • Denver, which lost 100-98 on Tuesday night to Charlotte, is 3-2 in the second game of a back-to-back.
  • The Nuggets fell to 1-6 - and 0-6 on the road - when scoring fewer than 100 points.
  • Allen made his first three 3-pointers and scored 12 in the opening period.
  • Denver big man Chris Andersen is not with the club during the four-game trip because of a fractured bone in his lower back.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Celts PG Rajon Rondo is back to his usual double-digit assists Wednesday after sitting out Boston's Dec. 5 game. (Getty Images)
Celts PG Rajon Rondo is back to his usual double-digit assists Wednesday after sitting out Boston's Dec. 5 game. (Getty Images)
Scoreboard
Denver (13-8)2131172089
Boston (17-4) «35242125105
DEN:T. Lawson 24 Pts
DEN:A. Harrington 8 Reb
DEN:C. Billups 7 Ast
BOS:R. Allen 28 Pts
BOS:K. Garnett 9 Reb
BOS:R. Rondo 13 Ast
Players of the Game
BostonDenver

Ray Allen

Ty Lawson
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
28542427

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Denver
Nene, C353-66-862512
A. Afflalo, SG346-102-240416
C. Billups, PG332-100-21755
G. Forbes, SF201-33-60105
S. Williams, PF152-60-05014
T. Lawson, PG349-146-727224
A. Harrington, PF323-100-08157
J. Smith, SG267-180-050316
M. Ely, C110-10-03030
A. Carter, PGDid Not Play
K. Martin, PFDid Not Play
C. Andersen, PFDid Not Play
C. Anthony, SFDid Not Play
R. Balkman, SFDid Not Play
Totals 33-7817-2534182889
 42.3%68.0% 
Boston
P. Pierce, SF376-145-534317
R. Allen, SG369-147-854128
K. Garnett, PF318-91-191017
R. Rondo, PG302-30-131314
S. O'Neal, C213-43-66039
G. Davis, PF274-108-1260116
N. Robinson, PG182-51-23336
M. Daniels, SG170-20-02110
S. Erden, C132-20-12034
V. Wafer, SG61-40-00012
L. Harangody, PF31-10-02002
A. Bradley, PG20-00-01000
J. O'Neal, CDid Not Play
K. Perkins, CDid Not Play
D. West, SGDid Not Play
Totals 38-6825-36422617105
 55.9%69.4% 
Other Games
Chi 88 Final
Cle 83
Tor 110 Final
NY 113
Det 74 Final
NO 93
Ind 95 Final
Mil 97
OKC 111 Final
Min 103
GS 94 Final
SA 111
Mem 104 Final
Pho 98
Mia 111 Final
Utah 98
Wash 91 Final
Sac 116
LAL 87 Final
LAC 86