About eight hours earlier, Nuggets players had joked around so much during the morning shootaround it crossed coach Brian Shaw's mind to worry about what they'd bring to the table come game time. He didn't want a team satisfied with what it had done. He wanted one hungry for what it wanted to do.

He scolded them as much as he could to get them back on course. Demanded the focus. Demanded that they take seriously a team that had beaten them just one month ago.

He just wasn't sure they got the message.

But they had and wasted little time to ease his mind. The Nuggets jumped on the Celtics early and cruised back to .500 with their third consecutive victory, winning 129-98 on Tuesday night at the Pepsi Center. It was their largest margin of victory this season.

"I think it was motivation from the last game. They jumped on us 39-15, something crazy, so we wanted to make the point that nah, you're not just going to do that to us and get away with it. So that's what we did." Said Ty Lawson. "Foye was making shots, spread the defense out."

The Celtics came into the game a wounded bunch, losers of every game on their current road trip, and with little energy to do anything about it.

So when the Nuggets (17-17) got out to a fast start, the Celtics folded.

The first quarter was a vast improvement for the Nuggets over the one the two teams played in Boston on Dec. 6. The Nuggets could not find the range in that one and couldn't find their man on defense. The Celtics feasted that day, ending the opening 12 minutes with a 39-15 lead.

"We were just in attack mode all night long and had a nice flow," Shaw said. "Defensively I thought we were very active."

On Tuesday, the Nuggets were the team on the charge, putting pressure on Boston on both ends of the floor on their way to a 20-9 lead in the blink of an eye. The Celtics recovered a bit, but the Nuggets never relented. They had an eight-point lead after one, and pushed that lead up to 23 by halftime.