Fast Start Lifts Nuggets Past Pacers
Denver 106, Indiana 86
DENVER, Jan. 4 (Ticker) -- Earl Boykins may be small in stature, but he continues to be the motor that makes the Denver Nuggets go.
The speedy Boykins provided a lift off the bench as the Nuggets capitalized on a blistering start for a 106-86 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
"I can't sum up what Boykins means to this team," Nuggets star forward Carmelo Anthony said. "He's the one that keeps us going. He brings so much energy and intensity out on the court."
Kenyon Martin added 16 points and Andre Miller 11 and 10 assists for Denver, which has won consecutive games following a three-game skid.
"We just needed a win," Martin said. "We came out from the beginning running and knocked down shots. That is what we need to be successful."
The Pacers pulled within 60-55 with 9:25 left in the third quarter on two free throws by Anthony Johnson. But the Nuggets answered with a 9-3 surge that rebuilt the lead to double digits for good.
Denver led by as many as 23 points in the fourth quarter and shot 52 percent (38-of-73) overall.
"It's a new year," Anthony said. "We have new goals and a new attitude. We are going to put last year behind us. We didn't have much direction then. When we get out and run we're hard to stop."
Not having to deal with Ron Artest - the 2004 NBA Defensive Player of the Year who is inactive while he awaits a trade - Anthony scored 11 of his 23 points in the first quarter, when the Nuggets shot 78 percent (14-of-18) from the field and opened a 34-25 lead.
On Tuesday, the shorthanded Pacers shot 66 percent (14-of-21) in the first quarter and opened a double-digit lead en route to an easy 115-96 victory over Seattle in their best offensive performance of the season. But they never were able to recover from their slow start in this one.
"Our undoing was the first quarter," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "We allowed them to shoot 77 percent and that got them going. That didn't set a good tone for us. I know we can do better."
Stephen Jackson scored 21 points to pace Indiana, which was playing the opener of a four-game road trip.
Indiana played its second straight game without All-Star and leading scorer Jermaine O'Neal, who is sidelined with pneumonia.
"This isn't the first time we've been shorthanded," Jackson said. "We still have to go out there and push through. We ran out of gas and they kept running."