Irving led the C's with 27 points in a 111-110 win over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night to close a hard road trip at 2-2.
After scoring 37 points on 13-of-18 shooting in Saturday's loss to the Golden State Warriors, Irving turned in another sharp performance from the field in Monday's victory.
Although the Celtics raced to a 20-point first half lead, the game never felt like it was out-of-hand for the Nuggets, the comeback was gradual, the 82-80 lead at the end of the third nearly a surprise.
Oladipo scored a game-high 25 points in a 105-96 win over the Hornets, and managed to produce a block on Dwight Howard. The latest game saw the Silver and Black defeat the Sacramento Kings, avoiding a multi-game losing streak in the process.
"I feel like we're figuring out the faster we play, the better we are", Barton said. Al Horford looked like he might have sealed the game when his 3-pointer at the top of the key as the shot clock expired pushed their advantage to 108-102, but Denver answered with a Harris 18-footer and a Lyles putback before Jamal Murray's game-tying jumper. The mistake Coach Malone made was in substituting Craig for Jokic, if he had it in his mind that he was going to push a Celtics miss, rather than call a timeout.
Denver made their first five three-pointers in taking a 17-12 lead, but the Spurs responded by making their first three 3s.
"They put us in some tough spots and I thought our guys battled", said Boston coach Brad Stevens. Jamal Murray's 3-pointer with 31.6 seconds left gave the Nuggets a final chance, but Barton missed from beyond the arc with 1.5 seconds to go, allowing the Spurs to escape with the win. "And if we continue to play that hard, I think we're gonna find a way to turn the corner and be a really good basketball team". No way I'm missing this one.' So I was open. We got a great shot. Arthur was in the starting lineup because normal front-line center Mason Plumlee stayed back in Denver to nurse a calf injury.
The Nuggets had run into a nice groove with three straight wins prior to yesterday's loss to the Celtics, though Chandler's role with the team has certainly diminished, as he's averaging single digits scoring for the first time since his rookie season. He became just the fifth player with 30-plus points, 15-plus rebounds and five-plus assists in a game this season, joining DeMarcus Cousins (four times), Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid and Russell Westbrook. The Nuggets played solid defense on Irving, forcing him left and into a fade away that rimmed off right. The Nuggets found themselves down by 20 points in the first half, but erased the deficit with a monster third quarter. "I'm just proud of the guy". Only Trey Lyles stands out among the second team with 20 points, 7 rebound and 3 assists in 20 minutes of action. The Nuggets are winless at 0-4 against the spread in their last four games against the Spurs and are winless at the betting window in their last four trips to San Antonio as well.