The Denver Nuggets definitely looked more competitive Wednesday but still fell short to the Boston Celtics, 104-100 in Boston. The loss dropped the Nuggets record to 19-31 on the season.

Ty Lawson had 23 points and eight assists as Denver’s leading scorer and Arron Afflalo added 18 points. Kenneth Faried pitched in 17 points and eleven rebounds and looked like he was completely over the illness that had bothered him the past couple games.

Avery Bradley had 17 points for the Celtics. Marcus Thorton also had 17 points and went 4-5 from behind the arc as Boston shot 42.9 percent from deep.

The Nuggets actually had a lead after one quarter, but once again gave up a boatload of points in the second and couldn’t quite recover.

“Once again it was the first and second quarter. We had the lead at the end of the first quarter,” said head coach Brian Shaw. “If we defend the way we did in the third and fourth for four quarters maybe we win the game going away. But that’s kind of been our story.”

The Nuggets were still very much in the game late in the fourth quarter but once again failed to execute with the game on the line. Denver finished with 15 turnovers, including two in the last minute of the contest, both on inbound plays.

“I liked our effort a lot better in the second half. I thought we finally defended. We only gave up 22 (points) in the third and 21 in the fourth. We got to the free-throw line effectively,” said Shaw. “But ultimately I thought our turnovers in the fourth quarter down the stretch killed us.”

A few more threes would have made the difference for Denver, but the Nuggets have been ice-cold from deep lately, and Wednesday was no exception. The Nuggets shot under 17 percent from deep. Chandler and Danilo Gallinari both went 0-5 from three-point land.

Denver has now lost 11 of their last 12 and just can’t put together a complete game. Against Boston the team got a good effort, and went 30-33 from the free-throw line, well above their season average. But sloppy play with the ball, poor defense, and a slew of offensive rebounds by the Celtics (they had 19 on the night) that lead to second-chance points cost the Nuggets the win.

The Nuggets have one more game on their east-coast swing. They’ll try to salvage part of their road trip Friday against the Detroit Pistons. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m. mountain time.

Zach Marburger is a staff writer for Mile High Sports. He can be reached via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @BurchBurger.

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