The Celtics trailed by 19 points at one point Friday night against the Denver Nuggets, but Boston surged back into the finale of its five-game road trip. It was able to cut the deficit to one, before ultimately coming up short and falling 96-92 at Pepsi Center.
The encouraging second-half effort was overshadowed by Kemba Walker’s scary second-quarter injury, which resulted in the All-Star point guard being taken off the court in a stretcher. Head coach Brad Stevens provided some encouraging updates after the game regarding Walker’s condition.
“All the stuff, the scans that (Walker) went through at halftime yielded good results, but we haven’t heard anything since,” Stevens said, per NBC Sports Boston’s postgame coverage. “But I saw him in the ambulance at halftime that took him to the hospital and he had his wherewithal and was in pretty decent spirits, which was good, obviously. … He gave me his typical, ‘I’m fine. Tell them to go win.’”
It’s always interesting to see how teams, both that of the injured player and the opponent, respond on the court following a scary injury like that. Stevens praised both sides, as this one turned into a battle down the stretch.
“It’s tough on both teams to see that,” Stevens said. “It was good to get at least early reports of good news, from our standpoint. But the head injury thing is super scary, so you’re always thinking about it and you still have to play the last 27 minutes, which is not a fun part of it. But I thought our guys and Denver competed really hard until the end of the game.
Here are some other notes from Friday’s Celtics-Nuggets game:
— Stevens gave some praise to his guys for fighting back from a 19-point deficit under tough circumstances, and rightfully so.
“There’s a lot of things we could do better,” Stevens said. “I thought that we all tried things maybe outside of our strengths at times, and that’s not how you win when guys are out. You win by doing everything a little bit harder, a little bit better, and then you saw that at the end of the game. And I told the new guys, who are showing signs of this, the guys that are holdovers here, those dudes are warriors. I mean, to come back in that game, on the last day of a trip, after seeing Kemba go down in Denver against that team, and give us a chance to win — they’re warriors.”
— Brad Wanamaker continued to provide an impressive spark off the bench, posting 14 points, his third straight double-figure effort. The 30-year-old guard has played 15 or more minutes in 11 consecutive games. He’s now shot 50 percent or higher in eight of Boston’s last nine games as well, helping to provide stability in the scoring department for the Celtics’ depth chart amid an injury to Gordon Hayward.
Stevens spoke extremely highly of Wanamaker’s effort after the win.
“He’s been one of our best players on the trip,” Stevens said. “Bench or starters, he’s been one of our best players, and he really gave us a chance.”
— The Celtics now have a few days off before facing the Sacramento Kings on Monday night at TD Garden. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports Images