Bent rim causes 35-minute delay as Nuggets beat Celtics

Bent rim causes 35-minute delay as Nuggets beat Celtics

  • Sports
  • January 2, 2023
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Sunday night’s game between the Boston Celtics and the Denver Nuggets was a face-off between the NBA’s Eastern and Western conference leaders, as well as top MVP contenders Jayson Tatum and Nikola Jokic. But the showdown was overshadowed by a bent rim that caused a delay of around 35 minutes.

Boston’s Robert Williams III appeared to be the culprit after holding on to the rim after a thunderous dunk at 8:06 in the fourth quarter. Soon after, the rim tilted slightly to the left.

After a timeout with 6:43 left and the Nuggets leading 110-97, the officials called on the arena crew to level the margin. It took six workers, two ladders, a spirit level, phone calls and finally a crew member to remove the rim from the back wall before it was repaired – which Celtics guard Jaylen Brown disputed.

“There was no communication. They spent the whole time fixing it, but when we got back it still looked like it wasn’t even flat in my opinion. So we just wasted all that time,” Brown said after Boston’s 123-111 loss.

“It affects the game. That’s how injuries happen. Luckily that wasn’t the case [happen], but that wasn’t good. This whole process was badly managed in my opinion and that had an impact. But luckily nobody was hurt.”

Trying to stay warm, the players jumped up and down as Jokic and his Denver teammate Aaron Gordon jogged from sideline to sideline. The players were allowed a brief warm-up before play resumed, and then the Nuggets pulled away.

“Man, that was crazy,” Denver security guard Bones Hyland said of the delay. “I’ve never been in a game like that before. We just tried to stay relaxed and play the game to the end.”

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Williams said he’s never done anything like this before.

“I didn’t know I did it until my teammates started blaming me,” he said.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone called the situation “a buzzkill.”

“There’s a joke in there: How many people does it take to fix a rim in an NBA game?” he said.

Jokic had 30 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists for the Nuggets, who led by as much as 18 points in a game that ended up lasting 2 hours and 40 minutes. He hit 10 of 13 shots from the field and all eight free throws in his second straight triple-double and ninth of the season. Bruce Brown added 21 points for the Nuggets, who shot 57% from the floor and hit 17 of 30 3-pointers.

“He’s my MVP,” Bruce Brown said of Jokic. “He should be league MVP three times in a row. He does everything for us. Without Jok, I don’t know where we would be.”

Denver won for the 10th time in 12 games, slipped to Boston in six games and led by a game in the West.

Jaylen Brown scored 30 points and Tatum shook off a slow start to add 25 for Boston, who shot just 9-of-33 from 3-point range in the opener of a four-game trip. The loss set off a four-game winning streak for the Celtics, whose lead in the east was reduced to 1½ games.

A large number of Celtics fans began chanting, “MVP! MVP!” when Tatum went to the foul line late in the second quarter. Nuggets fans loudly returned the favor moments later with their own MVP chant for Jokic as he walked to the line.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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