Jaylen Brown scored 27 points, Jayson Tatum had 21 points and eight assists, and the host Boston Celtics overcame a big night by Nikola Jokic to beat the Denver Nuggets 112-99 on Tuesday night.
Kemba Walker added 17 points for the Celtics, who had lost four of their previous five.
Jokic finished with 43 points, Jamal Murray had 25 — but suffered nine turnovers — and Facundo Campazzo added 15 in his first start for short-handed Denver.
The Nuggets played without five rotation players, three of them starters. In addition to Gary Harris, P.J. Dozier and Will Barton, who all missed Sunday’s win over the Los Angeles Lakers, Paul Millsap (left knee sprain) and Monte Morris (right shoulder strain) were sidelined.
With nearly half the roster out, Jokic carried the team in the first half, scoring 29 points on 10-of-12 field goals and made all three of his long-range attempts.
Boston took a five-point lead into the intermission and was ahead 67-60 when Denver went on an 11-4 run to tie it on Jokic’s turnaround 13-footer with 4:09 left in the third. Semi Ojeleye hit a 3-pointer and after Jokic hit a floater Brown hit two from behind the arc to put the Celtics back in front 80-73.
Boston finished the third on a 15-4 run to lead by 11 heading into the fourth.
The Nuggets scored the first four points of the fourth quarter but the Celtics quickly got the lead to 12 with Jokic on the bench. Campazzo hit two free throws and then a 3-pointer to get Denver within nine.
Brown hit two more 3-pointers to put Boston ahead 101-88 with 4:35 left and the Nuggets never got closer than 10 the rest of the way.
The Celtics led by four after one quarter and pushed the lead to 15 before Denver closed the second quarter with a flurry. Down 54-42, Jokic hit a 15-footer, Campazzo scored on a reverse layup and then hit a 3-pointer and Murray also hit one from deep during a late first-half run, but Boston led 59-54 at halftime.
–Field Level Media