The Denver Nuggets won three in a row on the road coming into tonight and looked to make it a perfect 4-0 on the road with a win against the Indiana Pacers. They got out to a big start and their big three of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr delivered once again. Indiana ends up fading late on a second night of a back to back and spoiled good games from Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis. Denver wins 113-103 and heads to the all star break riding high.
The Nuggets got things rolling out of the gate behind Will Barton and Porter Jr who were draining threes every time down. Denver jumped out to a 13-2 lead before Indiana found some momentum. They also got some lucky breaks, including a Turner bank three, and rattled off a 15-0 run to take the lead and force coach Michael Malone into a timeout. The run made it to 17-0 before Monte Morris finally got a basket, that didn’t stop the disappearing act on defense that Denver was performing though. Things tightened up down the stretch of the quarter, Denver was able to put the clamps on everyone except Sabonis who kept the Pacers in front. The Nuggets closed out the quarter strong though and pulled back within one after one.
P.J. Dozier gave Denver life off the bench to start the second, first knocking down a three and then following it up with a mid range jumper to put Denver back in front. The Nuggets were back in rhythm, particularly with their passing which was superb and resulting in high percentage looks at the rim. Denver got the lead all the way up to seven but they still struggled to contain the Pacers on the offensive glass which kept Indiana within striking distance. When Denver’s starters came back in their offense oddly stalled out a bit but Indiana was really cold from the floor, save for some second chance points (again) there wasn’t much to speak of for Indy’s offense. Denver found their range from three with the half drawing to a close, a Joker three put them up by twelve with just over two minutes to go. Indiana got some life right at the end of the half and pushed back but after two quarters they still trailed by nine.
Denver was sloppy to start the second half but it didn’t hurt them out of the gate because the Pacers still couldn’t seem to get the lid off the rim. The game continued to be sloppier than joe with the quarter progressing and Denver’s lead hovering around ten points. The sloppiness eventually caught up with them and Indiana went on a 14-2 run to tie the game and force Malone into a timeout. Jokic was really struggling on the night but he started to find a groove with his passing and got some easy buckets for his teammates. That, along with Dozier and Vlatko Cancar, sparked a run to put the Nuggets back up by eight. Indiana really struggled to string together good possessions on their end which kept the Nuggets lead from getting smaller. At the end of the third quarter Denver was still up by eight.
Denver’s offense kept cooking to start the fourth and kept them in front. The Pacers weren’t going to go quietly though and found a way to string together some baskets to keep the Nuggets from closing it out early in the fourth. Porter was not going to be deterred from a win and started knocking down some threes which made the lead grow to fourteen. Around the halfway point of the quarter he erased a Malcolm Brogdon layup with a gorgeous block which led to a Murray dunk and it felt like that was the nail in the coffin. Still, Indiana gave it one last push and got back within eleven with two minutes to go. Denver slowed things down to make the Pacers play against the clock and they couldn’t overcome it. Denver wins 113-103