Karl stuck on 999 as Celtics win eighth in a rowDec 9, 2010 - 7:07 AM
The Nuggets clawed back from a 19-point hole in the first half despite not having Carmelo Anthony, but they failed for the second night in a row to get head coach George Karl his 1,000th win.
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett added 17 points apiece for the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics, Glen Davis scored 16 off the bench and Rajon Rondo dished out 13 assists in the win.
Ty Lawson had 24 points in a reserve role for the Nuggets, who have lost two straight on the heels of a seven-game winning streak that pushed Karl to 999 career victories.
Karl is trying to join Don Nelson, Lenny Wilkens, Pat Riley, Jerry Sloan, Phil Jackson and Larry Brown as the only NBA head coaches to reach the 1,000-win plateau.
Anthony was sidelined because of inflammation in his right knee -- the first full game he has missed this season.
Pierce said the Celtics prepared for the game as if Anthony was playing and that head coach Doc Rivers didn't want to tell them he wasn't.
"I think he waited until the very last second because we went over the game plan as if he was playing," said Pierce.
With Denver's star forward out of the lineup, Boston took control of the game from the start.
The Celtics jumped out to a 19-point lead in the first quarter when Pierce's 15-foot turnaround made it 30-11 in the final minutes. They shot 68 percent in the quarter, got 12 points from Allen and carried a 35-21 lead into the second.
"When you get down like that, you pretty much gotta play perfect," said Nuggets guard Chauncey Billups, who scored just five points in 33 minutes. "And this is not the team to play against where every shot has to go in."
Denver did claw back behind Lawson, the reserve guard, who played all 12 minutes off the bench in the second quarter.
Lawson scored 11 of his 24 points in the frame and the Nuggets tried to make a game of it, trimming an 18-point deficit all the way to one with a 29-12 spurt that spanned seven minutes.
Lawson's layup at 3:24 made it 51-50, but Boston scored eight of the next 10 points to carry a 59-52 lead into halftime.
The Nuggets' production tailed off and they shot just 39 percent in the third, letting Boston build a 13-point lead near the end of the quarter on a Davis free throw.
The Celtics took an 80-69 lead into the fourth and got buckets from Davis, Pierce and Allen in the opening minutes to build a 17-point lead. Denver didn't get its first points until Arron Afflalo's free throws 3:58 into the quarter.
The Nuggets were never closer than 14 points after that, while Boston's lead grew as high as 20.
"Boston makes you make mistakes, they make you take tough shots," said Karl, who will have to wait until Friday's game at Toronto for another shot at win No. 1,000.
"They're one of the better defensive teams in the league and I didn't think we were very patient."
Karl missed the final two months of last season while undergoing treatment for throat and neck cancer...Boston shot 56 percent from the field, while Denver shot 42 percent...Rondo had four points...Garnett pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.
- DENVER: 89
Dec 8 9:33 PM
- DENVER: 69
End of 3rd
Dec 8 8:57 PM
- DENVER: 52
Dec 8 8:12 PM
- DENVER: 21
End of 1st
Dec 8 7:35 PM
- DENVER: 0
1st Quarter - 15:00
Dec 8 7:10 PM
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