NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, February 21st (All times eastern)
Boston Celtics (35-18) at Denver Nuggets (36-19), 3:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A pair of division leaders clash late Sunday afternoon in the Rocky Mountains, where the Boston Celtics take on the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center.
The Atlantic Division-leading Celtics have won three in a row and six of their last eight games, including Friday's 96-76 victory at Portland. Ray Allen finished with 21 points and Kevin Garnett added 16 points and seven rebounds for Boston, which is 3-1 on a five-game road trip out west.
"It looks like we're starting to surface," Allen said. "We're coming back to the reality of who we think we are, the team we started the season as."
Rajon Rondo ended with 10 points and 11 assists, as the Celtics improved to 20-9 away from TD Garden this season. Boston may not have newcomer Nate Robinson on Sunday due to flu-like symptoms. The first ever three-time Slam Dunk champion was acquired by Boston from New York earlier this week.
The Nuggets sit just a half-game in front of Utah for the Southwest Division lead and have alternated wins and losses over their last eight games. In a 107-97 loss at Washington on Friday, Chauncey Billups had 28 points to lead the Nuggets, who were coming off an exciting overtime win over Cleveland on Thursday.
"We didn't pass it tonight. We have a selfish disposition at times," said Nuggets head coach George Karl. "It might come from fatigue, it might come from complacency. You can't beat anyone with 12 assists; it's just a joke."
Carmelo Anthony registered 23 points and seven rebounds, while Nene had 17 points and nine boards in defeat.
Denver is 23-5 as the host this season, the third-best winning percentage at home in the NBA (Cavaliers, Lakers).
Sunday's matchup between the Celtics and Nuggets is the first of two this season. They will also meet again on March 24 at Boston, which has won 14 of 21 and 16 of the last 24 meetings. The Celtics ended a four-game slide in the Rockies with a 114-76 drubbing of the Nuggets on February 23, 2009.
02/21 10:32:05 ET