Pacers snap losing streak vs Nuggets with 39-point blowout
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — David West scored 25 points and Roy Hibbert added 14 as the Indiana Pacers routed the short-handed Denver Nuggets 119-80 on Monday night.
Indiana snapped a five-game skid in the series, beating the Nuggets for the first time since a 31-point blowout in November 2010. The Pacers (40-11) still have the NBA’s best record, the league’s best home record (25-2) and now lead two-time defending champion Miami by four games in the Eastern Conference.
Wilson Chandler scored 17 points and J.J. Hickson added 12 to lead the Nuggets (24-26), who have lost three straight and played without several injured players, including Andre Miller, Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee, Nate Robinson and Ty Lawson.
After the first six minutes, this game was never close.
The Pacers took control with a 21-5 run that made it 37-20 early in the second quarter. Then, they closed the half on a 14-4 spurt to make it 61-40, and the Nuggets couldn’t get closer than 19 in the second half.
Indiana, which lost Sunday at Orlando, hasn’t lost back-to-back games since mid-December and hasn’t lost three straight all season. The Pacers finished this one with a season-high points total and a season-best shooting percentage (57.5).
Denver was nowhere near full strength, though, and it showed.
Again the Nuggets played without Miller, who has been held out since early January; Gallinari, who is out for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee; McGee, who has been out since late January with a stress fracture in his left leg; and on Monday, they were also missing their backup point guard in Robinson (left knee) and their top scorer and point guard Lawson (fractured left rib).
Coach Brian Shaw’s biggest concern heading into the game was finding a replacement for his only two point guards and defending Paul George, who Shaw dubbed the best two-way player in the NBA. George finished with 12 points, five rebounds and four assists.
But the bigger problem came inside.
West finished 11 of 13 from the field and had 21 points in the first half. Hibbert had 12 rebounds and the Pacers won both key battles in the paint – outrebounding Denver 56-37 and outscoring them 58-36.
It was just too much for Denver to overcome.
After trailing for the only time in the game, 11-10, Indiana steadily pulled away. The Pacers led 31-20 after one quarter, 61-40 at the half and 85-56 after three. Indiana was so far ahead that coach Frank Vogel rested his starters the entire fourth quarter.
The Nuggets finished with a season-low shooting percentage (31.5) and suffered their most lopsided loss of the season – the second time that’s happened in three days. Denver’s previous low marks came in a 117-90 loss Friday at New York and a 36.4 percent shooting performance Dec. 21 in Los Angeles against the Clippers.
Randy Foye had nine points and 10 assists in place of Lawson.