The Boston Celtics' perfect start at home is no more.
The Denver Nuggets became the first team to beat the Celtics in Boston this season on Friday, walking out of the TD Garden with a 102-100 win. The Celtics had started the season 20-0 at home and were carrying a 27-game home win streak dating back to last season.
Boston's last home loss had been a double-overtime loss to the New York Knicks on March 5, 2023.
The 20-0 start remains the best in Celtics history. Their 32-10 record is also still the best in the NBA.
Unsurprisingly, it was Nikola Jokic leading the defending champions in their bid to break the streak. The MVP candidate finished with 34 points on 14-of-22 shooting with 12 rebounds and nine assists. He was also at the center, literally, of the game's oddest call.
As Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon shot a free throw with 17 seconds left and the Nuggets up 102-100, Jokic acted as if he was going to barrel into the paint between Kristaps Porzingis and Jaylen Brown. Both Celtics responded by jumping into the lane to hold him off, resulting in Brown getting an easy rebound.
The officials opted to call the play a double lane violation, turning Celtics ball into a jump ball.
This was called a jump ball not a lane violation lmfao pic.twitter.com/pgCaZ1urT4
— Aadan (@JMurrayWrld) January 20, 2024
Jayson Tatum ended up with possession after that jump ball and called timeout, then got it back for an attempt to tie the game or win it. He did neither.
"Tatum's turnaround jumper falling short in what feels like something we can see again in about five-and-a-half months, Doris, in June."
Mark Jones on the call as the Nuggets hand the Celtics their first home loss of the season. pic.twitter.com/MCjV95pHEr
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) January 20, 2024
It was an entertaining game that ended ugly, with the two teams combining for only one field goal in the final 2:50.
Overall, the Celtics combined to shoot 42.7%, which makes it hard to win even when you commit only two turnovers and held your own on the boards against the NBA's leader in contested rebounding rate. Tatum and Brown combined to shoot 15 of 43 for 35 points.