DENVER (AP) — Jamal Murray’s strong finish helped the Denver Nuggets work their way through a stretch of ragged play Friday night, but his thoughts after the game turned to an injured opponent.
Bigger than basketball. pic.twitter.com/pl07ULWeNI
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) November 23, 2019
Murray — who scored 22 points, including two clutch free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining — offered well wishes to Celtics point guard Kemba Walker, who suffered a head injury in the second quarter of Denver’s 96-92 win.
“That’s not something you want to mess around with,” Murray said. “Prayers out to him and hopefully he’s fine.”
Walker collided with teammate Semi Ojeleye late in the second quarter, striking Ojeleye’s abdomen area head-first and going down on to the court in a heap.
Walker grimaced in pain as he went down, and play was stopped as medical personnel from both teams tended to the 29-year-old guard who was prone on the floor for several minutes. His teammates gathered round as did Nuggets players, visibly concerned about Walker. A brace was placed around his neck to stabilize the area, and he was strapped to a backboard before being placed onto a gurney and wheeled off the court in front of a hushed crowd.
“I saw him in the ambulance at halftime,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “He had his wherewithal about him. He was in decent spirits, which is good.”
In a tweet, the Celtics said Walker has been diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms and was transported to a hospital for further evaluation. Following testing at the hospital, Walker was released to rejoin the team and allowed to return to Boston Friday night. He will be re-evaluated Saturday.
Walker, the Celtics’ leading scorer, had three assists and a pair of steals before leaving the game.
“Our prayers and our energy are with him,” forward Jaylen Brown said. “He’s probably the smallest dude on the floor every time he steps out, but he’s probably got the biggest heart. We definitely lean on him and we’ll welcome him back when he rests up and everything is taken care of.”
Denver led by 17 in the first half before the Celtics put together an 11-0 run in the second quarter, pulling to 45-34 at the half. Boston, down by 19 in the third quarter and 13 to start the fourth, went on another run, this time 10-1, capped by Brad Wanamaker’s driving layup to pull within two, 75-73, with 5:35 left to play.
Brown connected on a 3-pointer from the corner, pulling the Celtics to 84-83 with 2:18 remaining.
Jaylen Brown hit a 3 that brought the C's within one point late in the 4th quarter (Drain of the Game is presented by John’s Sewer & Drain Cleaning) pic.twitter.com/ozYhfzfWMT
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) November 23, 2019
Murray and Paul Millsap fended off the Celtics in the waning seconds, with Murray scoring six points in the final 94 seconds and Millsap draining a clutch three.
Celtics: Hayward is making progress in his recovery from the broken left hand he suffered during a Nov. 9 game against San Antonio. Coach Brad Stevens said that Hayward visited with doctors earlier Friday and he has begun taking some shots on the court. Barring any setbacks along the way, Hayward could be back on the court before the end of this year.
Nikola Jokic has had three triple-doubles this season and 31 in his career. Jokic recorded 18 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists for the Nuggets, who improved to 8-0 this season when holding an opponent to fewer than 100 points.
“Every night he’s a triple-double candidate,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “His scoring, his rebounding, his playmaking, he’s always making the right play.”
Celtics: Host Sacramento on Monday night.
Nuggets: Continue a four-game homestand Sunday against Phoenix.