Mile High Sports

Nuggets defeat Celtics, improve to 2-0 in Summer League

Feb 9, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Monte Morris (11) dribbles the ball during the game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

After starting summer league off with a win Friday night, the Denver Nuggets followed it up with an empathic 82-69 victory over the Boston Celtics.

After a Malik Beasley jumper to start the game, the Nuggets continued their strong defensive play allowing just 12 first quarter points. The Nuggets led 17-12 after the first quarter, with 11 of those points courtesy of Beasley. Going 4-6 from the field, Beasley scored the last nine points in the quarter and bounced back after a tough shooting performance in the Nuggets opening game against the Timberwolves.

After a bit of a letdown to start the second quarter, the Nuggets rebounded before half and trailed 31-30 at the midway point. With most of the second unit in, the Nuggets allowed Boston to go on a 15-6 run to start the second and trailed 27-23 with just over four minutes remaining. With the Nuggets needing a spark, in stepped Monte Morris, who put the Nuggets offense on his back going on a personal 6-0 run to cut the Nuggets halftime deficit.

Morris and Beasley were the scoring leaders going into the half as they combined to score 20 points on 8-15 from the field.

To start the second half, the Nuggets came out firing on all cylinders with a 13-6 run. The run was highlighted by strong play from Morris, Beasley, and Vlatko Cancar, who was inserted into the starting lineup with Tyler Lydon (rest) and Thomas Welsh (rest/ sore shoulder) out. Cancar had seven points and five rebounds before exciting the quarter after spraining his ankle.

After struggling in the first half, the Nuggets second unit had a much better showing in half number two helping stretch the Nuggets lead to 58-51 going into the fourth. DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell had 13 points after the third and gave the Nuggets energy off the bench that they desperately needed.

Akoon-Purcell’s energy carried over into the final frame after he drilled a three pointer to help stretch the Nuggets lead to double figures. The Nuggets never looked back as Morris and Cancar took over to give them a 75-62 lead with 4:42 remaining in the game.

After exiting the third quarter with an ankle injury, Cancar returned and made his presence known with an emphatic slam in transition.

Cancar finished the night with nine points on 4-7 from the field and also hauled in five rebounds. Cancar also played phenomenal on the defensive end of the floor ending the night with two steals and one block.

Other stat leaders for the Nuggets were Akoon-Purcell who led the game offensively with 19 points on 6-12 from the field. Beasley also chipped in 19 of his own and Morris scored 14 to help lead the Nuggets to their second straight summer league victory.

The Nuggets now have a day off tomorrow before they’re back in action Monday to face the Milwaukee Bucks with tip-off set for 7 p.m. MST.