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Recap: Nuggets win their third straight as Barton drops 30

No Jokic, Porter, or Murray? No problem. Will the Thrill came to the rescue erupting from all areas of the court tonight

DENVER NUGGETS VS INDIANA PACERS, NBA Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The Denver Nuggets tallied their third straight win tonight beating the Indiana Pacers 101-98. The Denver defense came to play again as the held yet another opponent under 100 points. This is a talented offensive group in Indiana and even without Denver’s usual stars, their defense remained steady and it was the key to victory tonight.

Bones Hyland and Zeke Nnaji shared career nights in the win. Nnaji had 19 points and 5 rebounds on 7-10 shooting and 2-3 from beyond the arc. Bones provided his first double-digit scoring game of the year, eclipsing 12 points and 4 assists on 3-8 shooting and 2-5 from three. Both displayed great chemistry together throughout the game and were massive contributors off the bench. Denver desperately needed their bench to step up tonight and those two took on the responsibility and flourished.

Denver’s next test is Friday at home against the Atlanta Hawks at 7:00 PM.

1st Quarter

  • Denver began the game hot, shooting 3-4. Will Barton opened the game sinking two straight threes followed by a Monte mid-range jumper
  • Nuggets held the Pacers to 2-10 shooting midway through the first. The defense was rotating well, collapsing the paint resulting in some tough outside shots for them
  • Even with the bench in, the Nuggets defense continued to demoralize the Pacer offense. The perimeter defense was excellent, great communication, and they switched when needed. Pacers shot 1-8 from three in the quarter
  • Bones had a couple possessions where he initiated the offense well tallying 3 early assists. He displayed patience and great vision but still remained aggressive
  • The Pacers ended the quarter shooting 3-4 and trimmed the lead to just three

Scoring leaders: Barton - 10, Sabonis - 7

Score: 23-20 Nuggets

2nd Quarter

  • Bones Hyland displayed some great passing skills in his first stint of the game. He played pitch and catch with Nnaji and helped Zeke acquire 8 early points
  • Denver’s offense sputtered a bit as the bench seemed to get a little fatigued. The Pacers closed the lead to just two after Denver offered them a couple of easy baskets
  • Some of the starters returned midway through the quarter but couldn’t find their rhythm. The offense had 0 field goals for just over 4 minutes
  • Pacers took their first lead of the game with two Torey Craig free throws. TJ McConnell helped the Pacers to a 16-4 run as they would later extend their lead 38-34
  • Monte Morris helped ignite some offense with a layup and and two threes but Denver could not extend a lead at the end of the quarter

Scoring leaders: Barton/Morris - 10, Sabonis - 9

Score: 44-44

3rd Quarter

  • Nuggets began the quarter missing their first seven shots. Will Barton finally broke the streak with a driving layup 3 minutes into the quarter
  • Pacers opened the quarter hot from the three point line. Turner, Brogdon, and Duarte contributed with the triples
  • Will Barton brought some energy back to the Nugget offense. Denver went on a 9-0 scoring run for about 4 minutes and Barton was responsible for 7 of those points
  • After a Pacer timeout, the Nugget offense cooled off but their defense ramped up. They forced 8 turnovers in the quarter and 4 in 5 possessions
  • Miles Turner proved to be the best shot blocker in the league. For a stretch of about four minutes, it seemed every time Denver drove to the hoop it was sent back. He had 7 blocks in the game
  • Zeke Nnaji played well tonight. Towards the end of the quarter, his rebounding on both ends was critical and he even hit a three

Scoring leaders: Barton - 19, Turner 13

Score: 69-65 Nuggets

4th Quarter

  • Bones and Nnaji showed some good chemistry throughout the game. Early in the 4th, they played some pick and roll action and most of Nnaji’s points came from Hyland passes
  • PJ Dozier contributed with some nice mid range buckets in the midst of a struggling offensive stretch for Denver. He played well on both ends during the 4th grabbing some clutch rebounds and facilitating well offensively
  • The starters entered the game midway through the 4th. Barton continued to sizzle as he hit two threes in a row after but the Pacers would keep trading baskets to deter a big lead
  • Brogdon was the catalyst behind the Pacers offensive success in the 4th. He scored 8 straight points for them, but Barton would continue to hit from three and the crowd erupted
  • Pacers controlled the paint scoring in the 4th. They scored more than 20 paint points in the quarter as they would dwindle the Denver lead to just two at 96-94
  • Aaron Gordon set a fantastic screen to free Barton as he kissed a floater off the glass for his 30th point. Denver increased their lead to 98-84 with 30 seconds left but Lamb followed with a layup to get within two points with 15 seconds left
  • The Pacers left Jeff Green wide open out of an out of bounds play to give Denver the late advantage. Bones then hit a free throw to put Denver up 101-98 and Lamb missed the game-tying three at the horn

Scoring Leaders: Barton - 30, Brogdon - 25

Score: 101-98 Nuggets

Stat Leaders

Points: Will Barton - 30

Assists: Morris/Hyland - 4

Rebounds: Gordon - 9

Silent Hero of the Game: Zeke Nnaji - 19 points (career-high), 5 rebounds on 7-10 shooting and 2-3 from beyond the arc