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Celtics hammer Nuggets, stay perfect at home

EditorsNote: changed percentage in 4th graf, fix margin (six) in 6th graf

Jayson Tatum scored 26 points, Jaylen Brown added 21 and the Boston Celtics blew out the visiting Denver Nuggets 108-95 Friday night.

Kemba Walker had 19 points, and Marcus Smart chipped in nine in his return from an abdomen injury as the Celtics won for the fifth time in their last six games. Boston improved to 9-0 at home.

Nikola Jokic had a season-high 30 points and 10 rebounds for the Nuggets, who lost for the third time in their last four games. Denver was playing the second night of a back-to-back, having beaten the New York Knicks by a 37-point margin Thursday.

Jokic snapped a personal funk of four single-digit scoring games in his last five, but the Nuggets were still handed nearly their worst loss of the season. They shot 39 of 94 (41.5 percent) as a team and hit 5 of 30 tries (16.7 percent) from behind the arc.

The Celtics never trailed, grabbing their first double-digit lead, 28-18, on a Brown basket with 2:15 left in the opening quarter.

Boston upped its advantage to 15, 49-34, with 5:24 left in the second, but Denver was able to battle back within six, 51-45, with 1:53 on the clock. A Walker basket ended the scoring in the half, and the Celtics led 53-45 at the break.

Brown had 13 points, and Tatum 12 for Boston. Jokic paced Denver with 14.

The Nuggets got back within five early in the third quarter, but the Celtics continued to pull away, grabbing a 65-53 lead with 6:10 to go. Denver kept pace, but Boston wouldn't let up, Smart draining a 3-pointer to restore the 12-point edge, 74-62, with 2:50 left.

Tatum hit a three with 1.7 ticks remaining as the Celtics carried an 85-64 lead into the final quarter.

Boston's lead grew as high as 23 in the fourth, as Denver was unable to get back within single digits.

--Field Level Media

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