Celtics fall 123-107 to Nuggets after Emmanuel Mudiay’s fast start

Denver Nuggets' Emmanuel Mudiay reacts after making a string of three-pointers during the first quarter. Michael Dwyer / AP

BOSTON (AP) — 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.


Nuggets: Denver scored just 86 points in its loss at Detroit. … G Will Barton missed his third straight game with a sprained left ankle.

Celtics: F Kelly Olynyk was also out and hasn’t played this season while rehabbing his right shoulder. He was the only player on the floor minutes before the teams came out for pregame warmups, doing extensive shooting with a few ball boys in front of Boston’s bench. Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Olynyk is still on pace for ‘‘mid-November.’’


The Nuggets emphasized getting off to a quick start after falling behind by 17 after one quarter against Detroit. They thought it was a bad pattern they had been getting into so far this season.

‘‘We had to not lose the first quarter. We were losing the first quarter too much,’’ Mudiay said. ‘‘I just felt like we had to come out and do something about it. We can’t be pointing fingers.’’


Before the game, Stevens addressed his team’s struggles on defense.

‘‘I’m not as concerned (with offense),’’ he said. ‘‘Again, my focus is on the defensive end of the floor with our team right now.’’


Then the Celtics went out and allowed the Nuggets to score 77 points in the first half while shooting 64.4 percent, with a number of baskets coming off drives down the lane.


Nuggets: Close a five-game road swing at Memphis on Tuesday. They play at home for the first time this month — and only the second time all season — on Thursday against Golden State.

Celtics: At Washington on Wednesday in their first matchup with the Wizards. Boston won all four meetings last season.