Notebooks: Nuggets 92, Pacers 89

Posted Dec 7, 2012 10:28 PM

Conrad Brunner, for

THE FACTS: The game turned out to be a clash of wills, but not between Indiana's defense and Denver's offense. It was between the Pacers' first unit and the Nuggets' bench. Ultimately, the latter made the difference. Reserve Andre Miller scored eight of the points and created the other bucket in a late 10-0 run that propelled the Nuggets past the Pacers 92-89 Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. McGee hit all nine of his shots and scored 20, as did reserve Corey Brewer as Denver enjoyed a 55-12 advantage in bench scoring. Paul George led Indiana with 22, extending his streak of games with at least 20 to a career-best three. All five Indiana starters scored in double figures but it went for naught.

QUOTABLE: "Right now I think he knows how to get shots down the stretch better than some of our other guys, some of our younger guys. He was running the pick-and-roll and the actions all game long probably better than anybody out there. He just has that old man knack."
-- Denver Coach George Karl on Miller.

THE STAT: The Nuggets' reserves combined to shoot 24 of 39 overall (.615), pull 17 rebounds and dish 10 assists. Indiana's reserves were 4 of 16 (.250) with eight rebounds and three assists.

TURNING POINT: A close game throughout appeared to swing Indiana's direction when the starters put together a 10-2 run capped by a George 3-pointer to put the Pacers up 85-82 with 3:31 remaining. But Miller scored six in a row and then came up with the game's most decisive play, stealing a rebound from Lance Stephenson and lofting a long lead pass to JaVale McGee for a dunk that put the Nuggets up 90-85 with 1:38 left. After George Hill missed a 3-pointer, Miller drove for a floater to make it a seven-point lead with 1:01 remaining. George hit a corner 3-pointer and Stephenson a free throw with 29.9 seconds left to cut it to three and after Hill blocked Ty Lawson's 3-pointer, the Pacers had one last chance. But the best they could do was an off-balance 3-point attempt by Hill, who pump-faked Lawson into the air and drew contact on the attempt but not enough to merit a foul call.

QUOTABLE II: "Their bench was better than their starters."
-- Indiana Coach Frank Vogel on the Nuggets.

HOT: The full range of McGee's skills were on display, from athletic dunks to jump-hooks in the lane and one coast-to-coast drive for a layup. In addition to his 9-of-9 shooting for 20 points, he pulled eight rebounds and blocked a shot. Brewer was 9 of 16 and Miller 6 of 11. Forwards George (9 of 15) and West (8 of 12) combined to hit 17 of 27 (.630) for the Pacers.

NOT: Denver's starters combined for just 37 points on 14 of 47 shooting (.298), with Lawson (1 of 10), Danilo Gallinari (2 of 10) having particularly egregious outings. Indiana's reserves had twice as many turnovers (eight) as baskets (four).

ROOKIE WATCH: None played for either team.

GOOD MOVE: McGee had a remarkable coast-to-coast drive for a swooping layup in the first quarter.

BAD MOVE: Going for a repeat of that play, McGee pulled a rebound, went behind the back with his dribble but lost his balance before reaching midcourt and tumbled to the floor while flinging the ball out of bounds.

NOTABLE: George has averaged 26.0 points in the last three games, hitting 30 of 56 shots (.536). ... West scored 18 with 11 rebounds for his seventh double-double, while Hill had 15 points and 10 assists for his first double-double for the Pacers. ... Indiana failed for the third time to win a third consecutive game. ... This was the second of a five-game road trip for the Nuggets. When it concludes, they will have played 17 of their first 23 games on the road. ... Kosta Koufous returned to the Denver starting lineup after missing one game with the flu and produced 12 points and five rebounds in 21 minutes. ...This was the fourth time this season an opponent's bench has scored at least 50 points against the Pacers. ... Indiana's starters outscored Denver's, 77-37, but the Pacers lost for the first time in four games when all five reach double figures. ... Denver had a dominant 54-28 edge in points in the paint, hitting 61 percent of its attempts (27 of 44). Indiana, on the other hand, shot just 41 percent (14 of 34) up close. ... The Pacers outrebounded the Nuggets, who ranked second in the NBA in rebound percentage entering the game, 42-37. ... Indiana had a season-high 27 assists but committed 19 turnovers. ... Roy Hibbert extended his streak of games with at least two blocks to 14 with three.

UP NEXT: For the Pacers, Sunday at Oklahoma City, Wednesday vs. Cleveland, Friday vs. Philadelphia. For the Nuggets, Sunday at New York, Tuesday at Detroit, Wednesday at Minnesota.