Nuggets 92, Pacers 89
Denver’s old man, Andre Miller, can still deliver a decisive
knockout punch when needed.
Indiana found out the hard way Friday night.
The 36-year-old guard played like a revitalized All-Star,
scoring eight of his 15 points during a decisive 10-0 run to send
the Nuggets past the Pacers 92-89. Miller had a hand in all of the
points during the late flurry – making three baskets and two free
throws and dishing out an assist on the only basket he didn’t
”He knows how to get shots down the stretch better than some of
our other guys, some of our younger guys,” coach George Karl said.
”He was running the pick-and-roll actions better than anyone all
game long, and he just has that old-man knack, that old-school
For one night, at least, Miller rekindled images from the days
he was one of the league’s most feared guards.
This time, the oldest player on the league’s third-youngest
team, showed his teammates that a combination of poise, leadership
and clutch play will trump big names and flashy plays every
No, Miller didn’t produce the biggest numbers for Denver
JaVale McGee had a season-high 20 points, 16 in the first half,
and eight rebounds. Corey Brewer matched his season-high with 20
points, too, on a night only two Denver starters reached double
figures – Kosta Koufos with 12 points and Andre Iguodala with
But Miller delivered the scoring punch when Denver needed it
”We just want to keep providing some stability, some energy, so
hopefully, it can carry over into the games,” Miller said as he
walked out of the locker room.
Indiana (10-10) was looking for its first three-game winning
streak this season and had a chance to force overtime when George
Hill blocked Ty Lawson’s shot from the left corner with 8.8 seconds
to go. Hill grabbed the loose ball and sprinted up the court, but
rather than call timeout to set up a play, Hill circled around and
threw up an off-balance 3-pointer that bounced off the side of the
rim as the buzzer sounded.
Hill finished with 15 points on a night all five Pacers starters
scored in double figures. Paul George finished with 22, including
four 3s. David West had 18 points and 11 rebounds, Roy Hibbert had
10 points and nine rebounds and Lance Stephenson had 12 points.
Afterward, Hill said perhaps he should have called the timeout.
Coach Frank Vogel disagreed.
”In a scramble situation, that’s where you get your most open
looks,” Vogel said.
Either way, it wasn’t good enough against the feisty Nuggets and
suddenly revitalized Miller.
The Nuggets overcame Indiana’s fast start, which put them in a
10-point hole less than four minutes into the game, took the lead
early in the second quarter and stayed in control for most of the
But after leading for most of the next 2-plus quarters, Miller
re-emerged when Indiana charged back.
”He’s drinking from the fountain of youth,” point guard Ty
Lawson said. ”He was coming down and getting buckets, getting
assists, he’s playing well for us. He’s winning games for us.”
Exhibit A came Friday night in a city where Denver has won seven
of its last nine and in a series in which the Nuggets have won 13
of the last 16.
Midway through the fourth quarter, it looked like the Nuggets
would hold on again as they scored seven straight points to rebuild
an 80-74 lead.
Indiana answered with Stephenson’s layup, a three-point play
from Hill and a free throw from Hibbert to tie the score at 82 with
3:52 to go. Twenty seconds later, George hit a 3-ponter, giving
Indiana the lead and sending the crowd into a frenzy.
But after a timeout, Miller took control.
He started the run with two free throws, then scored on a layup
and hit a 15-footer. After feeding McGee for a dunk, he closed the
run with a 14-foot pullup shot to make it 92-85 with 1:01 to
”They came out and really brought it up a level and it kind of
took us some time to adjust to that,” George said. ”By that time,
they kind of found something, letting Andre Miller attack and find
George answered with his fourth 3 and Stephenson cut the deficit
to three by making 1 of 2 free throws with 29.9 seconds left.
Miller and the Nuggets didn’t let Indiana get any closer.
”I’ve played with him for two years,” Iguodala said of Miller.
”And I’ve seen that calm about him before when it’s needed,
especially for a team like ours with some youth.”
NOTES: Hibbert had three blocks and now has blocked at least two
shots in 14 consecutive games. … Koufos was 5 of 8 from the field
and 2 of 2 from the free-throw line with five rebounds despite
still being slowed by the flu, which kept him out of Wednesday
night’s game. … Iguodala hurt his left hip late in the first half
but continued to play. The Nuggets already have two players out
with hip injuries – Wilson Chandler and Julyan Stone. … Indiana
and Denver now have an even split of the 168 games they’ve played
since entering the ABA.