Indianapolis (TSN) – JaVale McGee and Corey Brewer totaled 20 points each, as the Denver Nuggets used a late surge to best the Indiana Pacers, 92-89, on Friday.
Andre Miller, who dished out eight assists, scored eight of his 15 points in the final quarter for the Nuggets, who have won two of their last three after dropping three in a row.
Paul George ended with a game-high 22 points for the Pacers, who suffered their second loss in the last six outings despite having all of their starters score in double digits.
David West added 18 points and a game-best 11 rebounds, and George Hill totaled 15 and 10 assists in defeat.
Miller hit two free throws, then consecutive buckets and McGee added a slam to turn a three-point deficit into a 90-85 margin with 1:38 to play. After Hill was short on a shot from beyond the arc, Miller connected again for a seven-point spread with 1:01 to play.
George then sank a three and Lance Stephenson hit the last of two from the line for a 92-89 game.
The Nuggets held for a final shot, but Hill blocked a three-point attempt by Ty Lawson, dribbled the length of the court and worked a give-and-go before rushing an off-balance, contested shot from the behind the arc on the right wing that hit the rim and bounced out at the buzzer.
Indiana jumped out to a 12-2 lead early on, and though Denver shrunk its deficit to 25-22 on a Brewer slam, Hill’s triple had the hosts ahead 28-22 after one quarter.
The Nuggets pushed at the outset of the second, going up 31-29 on the second of back-to-back buckets from McGee, then built their lead to 40-34 on a Miller layup just after the midway point. The hosts were never able to reclaim the lead but managed to get within 51-50 at the break thanks to a West jumper.
Danilo Gallinari’s two from the line made it 58-53 for the visitors early in the third, but a brief run from the hosts gave them a 62-60 edge on a George layup. Once again a large lead was elusive for either team, and Denver led 69-68 heading to the fourth on a McGee alley-oop slam.
Denver led 80-74 midway through the final quarter thanks to a Brewer lay-in, but a 13-2 run by Indiana ensued. Hill completed a three-point play during the surge and Hill ended it with a trey with 3 1/2 to play.
Notes: Denver has beaten Indiana in six of the last eight meetings … Kosta Koufos and Andre Iguodala were the only Nugget starters to score in double digits, with 12 and 10 points, respectively … Stephenson ended with 12 points and Roy Hibbert contributed 10 and nine boards in defeat … Hibbert and Hill also blocked three shots apiece … Denver turned the ball over just eight times and scored 23 points off 19 Indiana turnovers.
“They obviously won the battle in the paint and that was pretty much the difference in the game. They had a great plan, penetrating the seams, drawing help and finding guys on the interior. Their bench was better than their starters. Great night by Brewer (Corey), McGee (JaVale) and Andre Miller. (On the last play) In a scramble situation that’s where you get your most open looks. (On bench play) We’ll play the players that are producing. Our bench had a great night the other night, and a tough night tonight.”
“(On the difference in tonight’s game) It’s just sticking to the game plan and knowing your personnel and things like that. We didn’t do that in a couple of scenarios. Not sticking to the game plan and knowing people’s tendencies and things like that—it’s something you can’t blame one guy for. We have to figure that out, pay attention to little details because we know that can win or lose a game.”
“They’re at team that really gets up and down, and if you don’t match that, you’re in trouble. They came out and really brought it up a level and it kind of took us some time to adjust to that. By that time, they kind of found something—letting Andre Miller attack and find guys. The tempo they brought really made it tough for us early on. We had a hard time adjusting to that. (On how will the team approach Oklahoma City on Sunday) Continue to play. We can’t let their name necessarily take us out. It’s a ball game. We’ve been playing well despite tonight. We’ve been playing our style of basketball, and that’s what we have to continue to keep doing.”