Jokic and the Nuggets beat the Celtics 123-111, overcoming rim delay

January 2, 2023

The Denver Nuggets defeated the Boston Celtics 123-111 on Sunday night in an NBA conference-leading showdown that was delayed for approximately 35 minutes due to a strong dunk that bent one of the rims. Nikola Jokic led the way with 30 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists.

Jokic recorded his second consecutive triple-double and ninth of the year by making 10 of 13 field goal attempts and all eight free throw attempts. For the Nuggets, who shot 57% from the field and connected on 17 of 30 3-point attempts, Bruce Brown added 21 points.

Denver broke a six-game losing streak versus Boston by winning for the 10th time in 12 games, taking a one-game lead in the Western Conference.

Six employees, two ladders, a level, phone calls, and finally, a crew member pulling the rim off the backboard were used to level the edge following a dunk by Boston’s Robert Williams III. The Nuggets led by as much as 18 points and waited out a lengthy delay with 6:43 remaining.

After a brief warmup, the game started again, and the Nuggets quickly gained the lead.

Boston, which made just 9 of 33 from 3-point range in the first game of a four-game trip, was led by Jaylen Brown’s 30 points and Jayson Tatum’s 25 points after the latter recovered from a sluggish start. The loss ended the Celtics’ four-game winning streak, which also reduced their lead in the East to 1 1/2 games.

Before Denver confirmed that Jamal Murray was out again, Nuggets coach Michael Malone referred to the contest as a “heck of a challenge.” Due to problems with his surgically repaired left knee, the point guard has been forced to sit out two of the last three games.

In his stead, Bruce Brown got things going and made 4 of 6 threes. The Nuggets, who came in as the NBA’s best 3-point shooting team, were no strangers to this subject. Over the last two games, they have made 34 of 58 long-distance shots.

Top NBA MVP candidates Tatum and Jokic were to face off in this game. And the crowd paid attention.

Many Celtics supporters began yelling, “MVP! MVP!”. Late in the second quarter, Tatum got to the line and scored. Moments later, when Jokic got to the line, Nuggets supporters joyfully returned the favor with their MVP chant for him.

Jokic ultimately proved it would take a lot of work to wrestle the prize from him.