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Irving’s 33 lifts Celtics past Nuggets, 124-118

  • Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving drives to the basket against the Denver Nuggets during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Boston Celtics center Aron Baynes, top, battles Denver Nuggets center Mason Plumlee (24) for a rebound during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone calls to his players during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens calls to his players during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) tries to block a shot by Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried (35) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Boston Celtics center Aron Baynes, left, slams a dunk against Denver Nuggets center Mason Plumlee, right, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Former Boston Celtics forward Antoine Walker sits courtside during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Boston guard Kyrie Irving gestures after hitting a basket during the second half of the Celtics’ 124-118 win over Denver on Wednesday. AP



Associated Press
Thursday, December 14, 2017

BOSTON – 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 124 points marked the top scoring output for Boston this season. 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.

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 were an opponent’s 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.

First step

Wednesday marked a milestone in Gordon Hayward’s recovery process from his broken left ankle. He shed 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, coach Brad 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. He feels good about that, so it’s a good thing.”

Up next

Nuggets: Host Pelicans on Friday.

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