Celtics vs. Nuggets Recap:
The Boston Celtics kicked off their five-game west coast road trip on Monday against the Denver Nuggets. The C’s made no adjustments in slowing down Nuggets point guard Jamal Murray, who finished with a career high 48 points.
The Nuggets improve to an impressive 9-1 record to start the season, second in the western conference behind the Golden State Warriors (10-1). Boston on the other hand continues to search for answers with their new assets, now holding the fourth seed in the east with a 6-4 record.
Expectations in the NBA world:
The Celtics have not lived up to the hype as it pertains to expectations coming into the season. After coming one game shy of reaching the NBA Finals after losing to the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, the hype around Beantown was that the Celtics were the new kings in the east. Although all that seems certain is that the Toronto Raptors are the team to beat in the East holding the best record in the east at 10-1.
With a lethal starting line-up of Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford the C’s were projected to take the east by storm with their elite defense that separated them from the league as the number one defensive team last season. The Celtics are second in the league on the defensive side holding teams to 100.8 ppg (points per game), but right now its Boston’s offense that hasn’t clicked ranked 27th in the league.
Irving Fined $25k for Post Game Antics :
This is the second straight game were the Celtics defense came up short in stopping the opposing team’s star players. In Saturday’s loss to the Pacers the Celtics failed to put a hand up on Victor Oladipo’s game winning 3-point attempt. On Monday the C’s made no adjustments in slowing down Murray, allowing him to get open down the stretch hitting clutch shots that would steer the Nuggets to victory.
But the shot that irritated Irving and the Celtics more was Murray’s 3-point attempt with less than five seconds remaining. Irving took Murray’s hoist as disrespect, as he heaved the game ball into the crowd after the game. “He was the primary concern tonight and he made us pay in certain instances of making some tough shots and some tough layups,” said Irving. “But the ball deserves to go in the crowd after a [expletive] move like that. So I threw it in the crowd.”
Murray on the other hand meant no disrespect, “My emotions took over as it normally does when I get going like that,” Murray explained. Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said the veterans on the team spoke with Murray about the shot, “He’s young, he’s learning. You never want to try to disrespect anybody. It wasn’t disrespect. He was trying to get to 50 points,” Malone said.
Although it looks like Irving has circled the Celtics next meeting with Murray and the Nuggets, “You just don’t play basketball like that. It’s just petty. It’s immature. But we’ll see him again,” Irving said.