BOSTON (AP) — Ray Allen scored 28 points Wednesday night as the Boston Celtics took advantage of an injury to Carmelo Anthony and won their eighth straight game, beating the Denver Nuggets 105-89.
The loss left Nuggets coach George Karl stuck on 999 wins. His next chance to reach 1,000 comes Friday at Toronto.
Kevin Garnett had 17 points and nine rebounds, and Rajon Rondo added 13 assists for Boston. Paul Pierce scored 17 and Glen “Big Baby” Davis, who had been ill during the week, had 16 points.
Reserve guard Ty Lawson scored 24 for Denver, and Arron Afflalo added 16 points. Gary Forbes, who started in place of Anthony, had five points and zero rebounds in 19 minutes.
Anthony, the No. 10 scorer in the NBA this season at 22.8 points per game, was scratched just before tip-off because of inflammation in his right knee. It’s the third time in 11 home games this season that the Celtics have dodged an opponent’s star; Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant and Washington’s John Wall also sat out in Boston.
The Celtics got all their sick and injured players back, with Rondo returning after missing Sunday’s game against New Jersey, Davis making it back from an illness and Shaquille O’Neal shaking off a sore calf. Nate Robinson missed practice Tuesday for personal reasons, leaving Boston with just eight players at the workout.
But the Celtics hit their first seven shots and opened a 16-4 lead before they missed one, on Garnett’s fallaway with 8:04 left in the first. The lead was 30-11 before the Nuggets began to chip away.
They outscored Boston 29-12 over the bulk of the second quarter – Lawson had 11 in the period – to pull within 51-50. But the Celtics pulled away again, getting a long 2-pointer from Allen and a pair of free throws from Pierce, and when Allen hit a layup in the closing seconds it was 59-52.
The Nuggets never got within one possession after that.
Karl’s next victory would make him the seventh NBA coach to win 1,000 games. Only Phil Jackson, Pat Riley and Jerry Sloan did it in fewer games; only Riley and Lenny Wilkens hit the milestone at a younger age than the 59-year-old Karl.
A brewing altercation was quickly broken up under the Celtics’ basket with 2:32 to play after Nene appeared to head-butt Davis following some jawing in the lane. The players were given matching technical fouls.
NOTES: The Celtics just missed shooting over 70 percent in the first quarter, finishing 13 for 19 (68 percent). … Nuggets reserves Lawson and J.R. Smith had 13 and 12 points, respectively, in the first half. … Denver, which lost 100-98 on Tuesday night to Charlotte, is 3-2 in the second game of a back-to-back. … The Nuggets fell to 1-6 – and 0-6 on the road – when scoring fewer than 100 points. … Allen made his first three 3-pointers and scored 12 in the opening period. … Denver F/C Chris Andersen is not with the club during the four-game trip because of a fractured bone in his lower back.
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