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Reply To: NBA • Sunday Service Plays • 2/21/16

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Preview: Boston At Denver

When: 5:00 PM ET, Sunday, February 21, 2016
Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

A handful of physical issues – as well as their most lopsided loss in nearly three months – has slowed the Boston Celtics’ surge. They will look to get back to their winning ways when they visit Denver on Sunday in the second of three straight road games.

In Friday’s 111-93 setback at Utah – the Celtics’ biggest loss since Nov. 29 – guards Avery Bradley (knee) and Marcus Smart (thumb) were hurt. That came after the team announced that reserve center Kelly Olynyk would miss a few weeks with a shoulder injury and little-used big man David Lee had his contract bought out, potentially leaving Boston shorthanded as it tries to recover from just its third loss in the last 13 games. The Nuggets emerged from the All-Star break with a 116-110 loss at Sacramento on Friday. They have won three of their last four home games – all against Eastern Conference teams.

TV: 5 p.m. ET, CSN New England (Boston), Altitude (Denver)

ABOUT THE CELTICS (32-24): Bradley told reporters he was unsure if would be able to play in Denver, while Smart was confident he would not miss any time. If either or both of them are absent, it would further hinder a team that talks a big game on the defensive end but has had issues recently making stops. Opponents are averaging 116 points in regulation over the last four games (2-2) and coach Brad Stevens was not pleased with the defensive effort against the Jazz, telling reporters, “We reached and grabbed instead of holding our ground.”

ABOUT THE NUGGETS (22-33): The loss in Sacramento marked Denver’s first game since trading Randy Foye to Oklahoma City in exchange for D.J. Augustin, Steve Novak and two picks. Augustin was not seeing much playing time with the Thunder but looked like he was ready to respond to an increase in minutes for the Nuggets, recording eight points, six assists and three steals in 19 minutes. Center Joffrey Lauvergne broke out for a career-high 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Bradley tied a season high with 27 points in a 111-103 win over Denver at home on Jan. 27.

2. Nuggets F Danilo Gallinari is averaging 23.7 points over his last six games.

3. Opponents shoot 32.7 percent from 3-point range against Boston, compared to 37.5 against Denver.

PREDICTION: Celtics 103, Nuggets 101