Nuggets-Pacers Preview

Paul George is starting to get hot, but the Indiana Pacers have

no idea whether he will keep it up.

George has posted his highest point total over consecutive games

for the Pacers, who will try to hand the Denver Nuggets a fifth

straight road loss Friday night.

It’s been hard to figure out what to expect from George, who is

now on the upswing with 56 points on 21-of-40 shooting over his

last two games. It comes after he scored four points on 2-of-18

shooting in the two contests prior to that.

“You just watch him and some of the shots that he’s making and

you think, ‘Boy, if he could ever stabilize and do this on a

consistent basis,'” coach Frank Vogel said.

With star swingman Danny Granger yet to see action, the Pacers

(10-9) would welcome any consistency from George. For his part, the

third-year forward believes he has turned the corner – along with

the team.

“A lot of things are starting to come together,” George said.

“We’re starting to knock down shots, we’re starting to see the open

man. We’re starting to play the style that we played last

year.”

Indiana has won six of eight, and Vogel pointed to a 3-1 road

trip that preceded Wednesday’s 99-92 home win over Portland as to

where his team began to gel.

“Nothing builds confidence like quality road wins,” Vogel said.

“We got two really good ones on this last trip, another one in

Sacramento, which is a quality win because they play great

basketball in their building, and the confidence is growing by the

day.”

The road hasn’t been as kind to Denver (9-10), which opened a

five-game trip with Wednesday’s 108-104 defeat to Atlanta. Ty

Lawson had a season-high 32 points, but his good work was undone by

his two turnovers in the final minute as the Nuggets were outscored

9-3 down the stretch.

“I feel bad for him,” coach George Karl said. “He had a great

game going. He was the best player on the court for most of the

night until the turnovers at the end. He just had a big-time

game.”

Andre Iguodala will be trying to bounce back from a pair of

sub-par efforts in which he has totaled nine points on 3-of-15

shooting.

Which team controls the tempo better should be critical to

Friday’s outcome.

Denver is yielding 101.1 points per game for one of the league’s

worst marks and averaging 100.8 points on offense for one of the

best. Indiana, meanwhile, is yielding 91.1 points per game for the

NBA’s second-lowest mark but also owns the second-worst offense at

90.7 points per game.

The Pacers haven’t cracked 100 points in their last six

games.

“We are just trying to be steady, trying to build some

consistency in our effort and how we approach every single game,”

forward David West said.

The Pacers are 2-3 on Fridays, and the only other day they are

below .500 is Sunday (0-1).

The Nuggets have taken 12 of the last 15 meetings, winning

113-109 in Indianapolis on Feb. 11 in the lone one last season.