The Nuggets have lost three in a row to start the stand, including setbacks to Philadelphia, Seattle and defending NBA champion San Antonio.
After starting the season 6-1 at home, the Nuggets are 3-6 in their last nine at the Pepsi Center, allowing an average of 104.2 points per game over that span.
In Saturday’s 98-88 loss to the Spurs, Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points and Kenyon Martin added 11 and 12 rebounds, but Denver shot a season-worst 34.2 percent from the floor and registered its lowest point total at home this season.
“We thought this was a time we could get well,” said Martin, whose double-double was his first of the season after entering the campaign with 84 in 353 career games. “Come home, got six straight home games. It’s very frustrating.”
Adding to coach George Karl’s frustration was a wasted effort by a defense that held the Spurs’ second-leading scorer, Tony Parker, to just six points on 3 of 9 shooting.
“That’s what happens when you’re struggling,” Karl said. “We did a great job on Parker. Kenyon and our (big guys) did a great job battling and competing in the paint. Best rebounding game we’ve had in a long time. And someone told me we missed over 20 layups and we made free throws when it didn’t count. We didn’t make free throws when it did count.”
Anthony has scored 25 or more points in seven straight games, and has averaged 20.3 points in four games against Boston during his career. After the Celtics, the Nuggets will host Indiana and Dallas.
Boston is 1-3 on its five-game road trip and is looking to win consecutive games for just the second time this season.
The Celtics snapped a six-game road losing streak with a 111-92 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday. Ricky Davis had 20 points and Paul Pierce chipped in 19 to pace an offense that had six double-digit scorers and shot 56.6 percent from the field.
The Celtics are just 2-7 when they shoot better than 50 percent this season.
“We wanted to finish the year off right,” Pierce said. “We know we’ve been so close, and for us to get a win like this feels good—especially finishing 2005 off with a win. But we’ve won back-to-back games once this year, so I don’t think we’re going to get too high. I mean, we’re still trying to build some consistency as a team. Hopefully, we got the monkey off our back.”
Pierce, averaging 26.2 points per game this season, has averaged 26.1 points in 13 games against the Nuggets during his career.
Boston holds a 40-23 advantage in the all-time series, but Denver has won the last two meetings and is 17-14 against the Celtics at home.
The Celtics won consecutive home games from Dec. 19-21, against Golden State and Utah, respectively.