BOSTON (AP) — Emmanuel Mudiay scored 24 of his season-high 30 points in the opening quarter, helping the Denver Nuggets to a big first half Sunday night on their way to a 123-107 win over the injury-depleted Boston Celtics.
Wilson Chandler added 22 points before leaving with a left hamstring injury. Danilo Gallinari scored 16, and Gary Harris and Jamal Murray each had 12 for the Nuggets, who lost 16 of the previous 18 meetings in Boston.
Isaiah Thomas led Boston, tying his season high with 30 points. Avery Bradley had 14.
The Celtics were missing starters Jae Crowder (sprained left ankle) and high-priced free agent acquisition Al Horford (concussion protocol).
Mudiay, who went 0 for 7 from the floor in Denver’s double-digit loss at Detroit on Saturday night, shot 9 of 10 in the first quarter and had a season high already as he outscored the Celtics.
The Nuggets led 42-23 after one.
Denver pushed its lead to 66-41 midway into the second and led 77-52 at halftime.
Boston left the floor to a loud chorus of boos.
The Celtics made a brief spurt in the third, closing to 84-69, but the Nuggets scored 14 of the next 19 points en route to a 103-83 edge after three.
There was a smattering of boos again when the game ended.
Nuggets: Denver scored just 86 points in its loss at Detroit. . G Will Barton missed his third straight game with a sprained left ankle.
Celtics: F Kelly Olynyk was also out and hasn’t played this season while rehabbing his right shoulder. He was the only player on the floor minutes before the teams came out for pregame warmups, doing extensive shooting with a few ball boys in front of Boston’s bench. Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Olynyk is still on pace for “mid-November.”
THEY WEREN’T LISTENING
Before the game, Stevens addressed his team’s struggles on defense.
“I’m not as concerned (with offense),” he said. “Again, my focus is on the defensive end of the floor with our team right now.”
Then the Celtics went out and allowed the Nuggets to score 77 points in the first half, shooting 64.4 percent with a number of baskets coming off drives down the lane.
Nuggets: Close a five-game road swing at Memphis on Tuesday. They play at home for the first time this month — and only the second time all season — Thursday against Golden State.
Celtics: At Washington on Wednesday in their first matchup with the Wizards. Boston won all four meetings last season.
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