DEN
BOS

No Text

Irving's 33 lifts Celtics past Nuggets 124-118

BOSTON (AP) The Celtics expected to have their hands full with a Nuggets team that has had no trouble putting the ball in the basket this season.

Boston countered by having its best shooting night of the season.

Kyrie Irving had 33 points and the Boston Celtics held on for a 124-118 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night.

Irving added seven assists. It was his eighth game this season with 30 or more points. Jaylen Brown finished with 26 points and five rebounds. The Celtics improved to 13-2 at home this season.

''We had to be resilient practically the whole night, and kind of weather their storms,'' Irving said. ''They kept coming and kept coming. We had to outscore them at some point.''

The 124 points was a season-high for Boston. The Celtics shot a season-high 60 percent from the field.

There were eight ties and six lead changes, but Boston never surrendered the lead in the second half.

''That was the only way we were going to win tonight - the way we were guarding and rebounding,'' coach Brad Stevens said. ''Our guys distributed it well. We did cut and space well. I thought we played with good purpose and authority on offense.''

Gary Harris led the Nuggets with a career-high 36 points and six assists. Jamal Murray added 28 points and 10 assists.

The Nuggets went on a 13-2 run to tie the game at 85 in the third quarter. Boston responded in the fourth, using a 9-0 run to open a 106-94 lead.

Denver's Nikola Jokic sat out his seventh straight game with a left ankle sprain.

Celtics forward Al Horford had the night off to rest a right knee bruise.

TIP-INS

Nuggets: Will Barton sat out with a lower back bruise. ... Denver connected on their first seven field goal attempts.

Celtics: Shane Larkin had 14 points off the bench. ... Denver's 118 points was an opponent season-high. ... Boston has made 10 or more 3-pointers in 11 straight games. ... Marcus Morris sat out for the fourth time in five games rehabbing his left knee.

QUOTABLE

''We came out short-handed - back-to-back, but that's not an excuse - and had great energy. That's all you can ask. It's been a long road trip and now we can go back and defend home court.'' - Harris.

BYE-BYE GOGGLES

For now, Brown is done with his goggles.

He wore contacts Wednesday for the first time since accidentally scratching his cornea. He had been playing with protective goggles for three games.

But he said the two versions he'd been using both had issues. One pair was fogging up too easily. The other started to become a hindrance and fit too tightly on his face, obstructing his peripheral vision.

''It's just uncomfortable with them. So I decided I was better off without them,'' he said.

Doctors say he can wear his contacts for a few hours the next couple of days. The change even brought about a postgame joke from Stevens.

''We had some laughs in retrospect about that. `Retro-spec' about that,'' Stevens said. ''I said `retro-spec'. I've been thinking about that all week.''

FIRST STEP

Wednesday marked a milestone in Gordon Hayward's recovery process from his broken left ankle. He out of the walking booth he's been using since his surgery in October. He will continue to wear a protective brace. It's a promising step in is rehab, Stevens said, but he cautioned it's just the next one in an ongoing process.

''It's another box to check. There's a big difference in getting out of the boot and playing in an NBA game,'' Stevens said. ''He's got a long way to go. But it's good that he has these things as goals. He keeps checking them off and he's working really diligently at it.''

UP NEXT

Nuggets: Host Pelicans on Friday.

Celtics: Play their fourth game in six days when they host the Jazz on Friday.

---

More NBA basketball: https://www.apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

---

Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/khightower

Copyright 2017 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
W. Barton
5 SG
K. Irving
11 PG
32.0 Min. Per Game 32.0
23.7 Pts. Per Game 23.7
4.8 Ast. Per Game 4.8
3.0 Reb. Per Game 3.0
47.0 Field Goal % 49.7
47.0 Three Point % 49.1
70.9 Free Throw % 87.6
  Defensive rebound by Semi Ojeleye 0:07
  Jamal Murray missed 3-pt. jump shot 0:12
+ 1 Kyrie Irving made 2nd of 2 free throws 0:16
+ 1 Kyrie Irving made 1st of 2 free throws 0:16
  Personal foul on Jamal Murray 0:16
+ 3 Jamal Murray made 3-pt. jump shot 0:17
  Defensive rebound by Jamal Murray 0:26
  Kyrie Irving missed 2nd of 2 free throws 0:27
+ 1 Kyrie Irving made 1st of 2 free throws 0:27
  Personal foul on Trey Lyles 0:27
  Personal foul on Wilson Chandler 0:32
Team Stats
Points 118 124
Field Goals 45-91 (49.5%) 47-79 (59.5%)
3-Pointers 9-28 (32.1%) 11-25 (44.0%)
Free Throws 19-26 (73.1%) 19-24 (79.2%)
Total Rebounds 53 37
Offensive 20 4
Defensive 28 26
Team 5 7
Assists 22 29
Steals 8 10
Blocks 4 7
Turnovers 15 13
Fouls 20 20
Technicals 0 0
36 PTS, 3 REB, 6 AST
33 PTS, 1 REB, 7 AST
1234T
away team logo Nuggets 15-13 31283326118
home team logo Celtics 24-6 30382927124
Team Stats
away team logo Nuggets 15-13 110.0 PPG 47.2 RPG 26.8 APG
home team logo Celtics 24-6 110.4 PPG 46.3 RPG 25.5 APG
Key Players
G. Harris SG 16.6 PPG 3.2 RPG 2.9 APG 43.9 FG%
K. Irving PG 21.8 PPG 4.7 RPG 6.4 APG 48.6 FG%
Top Scorers
G. Harris SG 36 PTS 3 REB 6 AST
K. Irving PG 33 PTS 1 REB 7 AST
49.5 FG% 59.5
32.1 3PT FG% 44.0
73.1 FT% 79.2
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
G. Harris 37 36 3 6 2 0 2 1 16/25 3/8 1/1 2 1 51 +12
J. Murray 35 28 10 4 3 0 5 3 9/17 4/8 6/6 4 6 44 +8
M. Plumlee 31 15 6 2 0 2 2 4 7/9 0/0 1/3 1 5 25 +3
W. Chandler 36 14 5 2 2 0 1 3 4/10 0/2 6/7 2 3 24 -2
T. Lyles 33 9 6 2 1 0 1 4 4/6 1/2 0/3 2 4 19 +8
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
G. Harris 37 36 3 6 2 0 2 1 16/25 3/8 1/1 2 1 51 +12
J. Murray 35 28 10 4 3 0 5 3 9/17 4/8 6/6 4 6 44 +8
M. Plumlee 31 15 6 2 0 2 2 4 7/9 0/0 1/3 1 5 25 +3
W. Chandler 36 14 5 2 2 0 1 3 4/10 0/2 6/7 2 3 24 -2
T. Lyles 33 9 6 2 1 0 1 4 4/6 1/2 0/3 2 4 19 +8
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
M. Beasley 17 8 3 0 0 0 1 1 3/8 0/2 2/2 1 2 10 -14
E. Mudiay 17 5 1 2 0 0 1 1 2/6 1/3 0/0 0 1 9 -20
J. Hernangomez 13 2 4 0 0 0 0 1 0/4 0/3 2/2 2 2 6 -16
K. Faried 16 1 10 4 0 2 2 2 0/6 0/0 1/2 6 4 19 -9
P. Millsap - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Arthur - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
W. Barton - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
N. Jokic - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Lydon - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Jefferson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Morris - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Craig - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 235 118 48 22 8 4 15 20 45/91 9/28 19/26 20 28 207 -30
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
K. Irving 32 33 1 7 1 2 3 4 12/19 4/9 5/6 0 1 48 -5
J. Brown 32 26 5 1 2 1 3 2 9/12 3/4 5/6 2 3 33 -5
A. Baynes 28 17 6 2 0 0 2 3 8/11 0/0 1/2 1 5 25 -6
J. Tatum 27 15 4 2 0 1 1 1 6/9 1/1 2/3 0 4 23 +4
M. Smart 34 4 1 9 2 2 1 1 1/6 0/3 2/3 0 1 26 +7
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
K. Irving 32 33 1 7 1 2 3 4 12/19 4/9 5/6 0 1 48 -5
J. Brown 32 26 5 1 2 1 3 2 9/12 3/4 5/6 2 3 33 -5
A. Baynes 28 17 6 2 0 0 2 3 8/11 0/0 1/2 1 5 25 -6
J. Tatum 27 15 4 2 0 1 1 1 6/9 1/1 2/3 0 4 23 +4
M. Smart 34 4 1 9 2 2 1 1 1/6 0/3 2/3 0 1 26 +7
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
S. Larkin 17 14 3 2 2 1 0 1 6/6 2/2 0/0 0 3 24 +14
D. Theis 18 8 3 1 1 0 0 4 2/4 0/1 4/4 1 2 14 +14
T. Rozier 19 7 2 5 0 0 1 1 3/8 1/2 0/0 0 2 18 +9
S. Ojeleye 28 0 5 0 2 0 2 3 0/4 0/3 0/0 0 5 5 -2
A. Horford - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Morris - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G. Hayward - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Nader - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Bird - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Allen - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G. Yabusele - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 235 124 30 29 10 7 13 20 47/79 11/25 19/24 4 26 216 +30