Game Rewind: Pacers 126, Nuggets 129
The Indiana Pacers received great play from rookies Joe Young and Myles Turner and were up by as many as 15, but ended up losing their third game in a row, falling to the Denver Nuggets 129-126 in the Pepsi Center. Similar to a recent trend, the Pacers were in control heading into the game’s final stages, but couldn’t hold on to win.
Indiana held a 119-116 advantage with just over three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, then Denver’s Will Barton drained a triple to tie the game. The next possession, Monta Ellis nailed a jump shot of his own to put Indiana back up two.
The game was tied at 121 with just over a minute to play until Indiana regained the lead through a Paul George baseline jumper. On Denver’s next possession, a Turner goaltending violation tied things up at 123. And after a George missed jump shot, Denver’s Randy Foye hit a 3-pointer to give the Nuggets a 126-123 lead with 20.9 seconds to play.
Ellis was fouled on Indiana’s next possession but was only able to make 1-of-2. Indiana fouled Foye, but like Ellis, he only made one free throw, giving the Nuggets a three-point lead and Indiana a chance to tie with 14.2 seconds on the clock. George missed a potential tying triple, but C.J. Miles got the offensive rebound and was fouled. His free throws made it a one-point game.
Will Barton was next at the line for Denver and he drilled free throws to put Denver back up three. With six seconds left, Indiana had one last chance to tie the game, but George’s long range attempt from the middle of the floor was partially blocked and Indiana was unable to get another look at the basket.
“I figured it was going to him [Paul George] because he is the best player on that team and he makes a lot of tough shots,” Nuggets guard Gary Harris said. “Will Barton and I were talking and we came together on the switch and I tried to make it as difficult as possible for him.”
“We just started having fun in the second half,” Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay said. “In the first half we were not pushing the ball enough, but in the second half we started jumping around, playing defense and getting after it.”
Indiana jumped out to a 14-9 lead thanks in part to Glenn Robinson III. Making his first start as a member of the Blue & Gold, Robinson III scored five points during the run. Denver would rally though, and at the end of the first, the two teams were tied at 30.
The beginning of the second quarter was all about the Pacers’ rookies. Young and Turner carried the offense and ended the half combining for 17 points.
Each would finish the game with a career high in points. Young scored 15 and Turner led all scorers with 25. It was a monster game for the young center as he shot 11-of-13 from the floor, added a team-high seven rebounds and blocked two shots.
“Myles [Turner] and Joe [Young] played great offensively tonight,” Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said. “They were great, not good, but great. I am very proud of them for that.”
The game remained close though, with Indiana leading 46-45 at the 5:40 mark.
From there, the Pacers took control. Indiana put together a 16-2 run to lead 62-47, with the last 11 points coming from Monta Ellis. Out of a timeout, Denver responded with a 7-0 run of its own to cut the lead back down to eight. Indiana scored the game’s next four points to end the half with a 66-54 lead.
To start the third, the Nuggets came out of the gate with a 18-10 run to get within four. Then, Nikola Jokic scored back-to-back buckets to tie the game and made two free throws to give Denver the lead with 4:26 left in the third period. Indiana roared back though, finishing the quarter on a 13-4 spurt to lead 91-84 when the buzzer sounded.
Like the third, Denver came out swinging to start the fourth. With 9:18 to go, the Nuggets got within two. The teams traded baskets for the next several minutes, and with 5:36 left, Indiana led 111-108, but ultimately couldn’t keep the lead for their 23rd win of the season.
Inside the Numbers
The Nuggets grabbed 17 offensive rebounds to Indiana’s nine.
In his first career start in a Pacers uniform, Glenn Robinson III finished with eight points on 2-of-8 shooting.
The Pacers are now 0-7 this season when allowing 110 points or more.
You Can Quote Me On That
“When this team decides to start defending again, then we will start winning again. Our defense was an embarrassment tonight. We have to toughen up, we have to start hitting people on the glass, we have to be first to the rebound and we have to stop giving teams second-chance shots.” -Pacers head coach Frank Vogel
“There were a couple possessions in this game, last game and probably the game before where we were just getting beat to the ball and killed on the offensive glass. We have to make some more physical plays and I have to own up to some of that too.” -Myles Turner
“I thought Gary Harris’ defense on Paul George was terrific and Emmanuel [Mudiay] had a couple of big plays. Obviously I wasn’t happy with the defense but that’s one hell of a win for us and now we’re 3-1 on our home stand.” -Nuggets head coach Michael Malone
by Kyle Grand