By Ken Powtak, Associated Press
BOSTON — Emmanuel Mudiay learned quickly that in the NBA, shooters often benefit from a short memory.
Coming off a rough game, Mudiay scored 24 of his season-high 30 points in the opening quarter Sunday night while helping the Denver Nuggets to a big first half on their way to a 123-107 victory over the injury-depleted Boston Celtics.
“One thing about this league that I’ve learned from last year is there’s always another game,” said Mudiay, in his second season. “You can’t think about the last one. You just grow and move on from it. That’s the main thing I was thinking about.”
Mudiay, who went 0 for 7 from the floor Saturday night in Denver’s double-digit loss at Detroit, 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.
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.
“These signs aren’t good. We’re not giving our all on the defensive end,” Thomas said. “We can have five starters out (but) you can definitely, it’s a mindset thing on that end, and we’ve got to do a better job on that.”
The Celtics were missing starters Jae Crowder (sprained left ankle) and Al Horford (concussion protocol), a high-priced free agent acquisition.
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.