Nuggets beat Pacers despite lowest point total of season
On a rough shooting night for both teams, one solid offensive stretch late in the game helped the Denver Nuggets come out on top.
Danilo Gallinari scored 19 points, including a 3-pointer to spark the critical fourth-quarter run, and the Nuggets hung on to beat the Indiana Pacers, 76-73, on Saturday night.
"That's what we needed," Gallinari said. "We knew that if we kept our defense up, once our offense clicked for two or three possessions, we'll be fine."
Ty Lawson added 15 points and 10 assists for the Nuggets, who won games on successive nights after losing six of seven coming into the back-to-back set.
"I think we were happy with our defensive effort," said the Nuggets' Arron Afflalo. "Obviously, offensively, some guys struggled, including myself. Just had to fight through it, maintain the defensive effort, which was solid. Fortunately, we hit some shots down the stretch."
David West had 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Pacers, who lost for the 10th time in 11 games. Indiana also dropped its sixth straight game in Denver.
Both teams were held to season lows in scoring with Indiana hitting just 30.7 percent of its shots from the field and Denver making 36.6 percent.
"We competed at a high level, got a lot of great looks," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. "I wasn't unhappy with the quality of shots we got. Tough shooting night. I think our whole team was ineffective."
With 27.5 seconds remaining in the third quarter, C.J. Miles, who finished with 16 points, made a 3-pointer to even the score at 55-55 heading into the fourth quarter.
Indiana went in front 60-55 on another basket by Miles, but Denver then went on its best offensive stretch of the night. Gallinari hit a 3-pointer, the first by Denver on the night after nine misses, to start a 10-0 run that carried the Nuggets to a 65-60 lead with 7:04 remaining.
Indiana twice cut the deficit to one in the waning minutes, the last on a desperation 3-pointer by Donald Sloan that pulled the Pacers 74-73 with 1.2 seconds left.
The Pacers fouled Afflalo on the inbounds with .6 seconds left and Afflalo made both free throws. Time ran out on the inbounds without Indiana getting a shot off.
Both teams struggled to convert shots in the first half. Indiana matched its season low in taking a 33-32 halftime lead. Denver had a season first-half low in points. Both squads made only about one third of their shots in the first two quarters.
Pacers: C.J. Watson missed the game because of an upper respiratory illness. ... George Hill, who has yet to play this season because of a left knee injury, is nearing a return. "George Hill is close," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said before the game. "He's been practicing but he's not going to play tonight or tomorrow. We'll see where he's at when we get back home." ... The Pacers also had 33 first half points at Portland on Dec. 4.
Nuggets: Darrell Arthur missed a second straight game because of a lower left leg strain. ... Nuggets coach Brian Shaw was the associate head coach with the Pacers under Vogel before being hired by Denver before last season. ... The previous first-half scoring low was 33 points at Oklahoma City on Nov. 1.
SUMMING IT UP
"We had stuff rattle in and out, halfway down. It wasn't good enough. They made some key shots and we weren't able to respond." -- David West