DENVER — Seconds after Paul Pierce nailed a jumper with 1:57 remaining in the third quarter, the Nuggets called timeout while many of their fans booed, put on their coats, and headed toward the exits.
With the Celtics ahead by 26, it was certainly understandable.
A strong start launched the Celtics to a 114-76 rout of the Nuggets at the Pepsi Center tonight. The Celtics are now 3-1 on their five-game Western trip, with the finale Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Celtics All-Star forward Kevin Garnett missed his second straight game with a strained right knee.
The Celtics went up by 14 before finishing the first quarter with a 29-20 lead. In the period, the Celtics nailed four 3-pointers, held Denver to 27.8 percent shooting, and won the rebounding battle, 18-9.
Frustrated after the Celtics won five defensive charges, Denver All-Star guard Chauncey Billups was slapped with a technical with 1:58 left in the half. Ray Allen (26 points) nailed the free throw to push his team ahead, 52-36.
With 34 seconds left, Kenyon Martin flagrantly fouled Allen, who made both free throws to give Boston a 20-point lead. The Celtics entered halftime with a 59-36 lead, holding Denver to a season-low first-half total.
The Celtics nailed 7 of 12 3-pointers in the first half, earned 14 second-chance points, and grabbed 8 offensive rebounds. Denver shot 30.6 percent from the field in the first half, had just 2 second-chance points, and was outrebounded, 29-16.
Allen’s 3-pointer gave Boston a mammoth 70-43 lead, and the Celtics were up, 86-58, through three quarters, having made 11 of 19 3-point attempts.
Allen was fouled by Anthony Carter while hitting a 3-pointer with 10:07 left and made the free throw to give Boston a 92-59 lead. Allen and Carter were both slapped with technicals for jawing afterward. Playing it safe with a big lead, Doc Rivers took out Allen for seldom-used rookie Bill Walker 11 seconds later.
Pierce finished with 22 points.