Game Rewind: Nuggets 121, Pacers 107
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By Conrad Brunner
This time, however, the moment belonged to the Denver Nuggets and Carmelo Anthony, who scored 23 in the third period, making six 3-pointers one-third his season total entering the game on his way to 36 points in a 121-107 blowout of the visiting Pacers Sunday before 17,047 in Pepsi Center.
In the previous meeting on Nov. 9, the Pacers scored 54 in the third quarter on 20-of-21 shooting and cruised to a 144-113 win but Denver reversed those fortunes at home.
Tyler Hansbrough scored a career-high 27 with 10 rebounds for the Pacers, and Paul George also had a career high with 17 points.
The Pacers extended their season-long losing streak to five games, their longest since a seven-game skid last March. They dropped to 16-25 at the midpoint of the season, 6-15 on the road, where they've lost 13 of 14. They're 2-8 in January. Denver improved to 25-18 overall, 20-5 at home.
- "Carmelo is shooting 25 percent (on 3-pointers). That is the shot we are going to give him and he made them." Pacers coach Jim O'Brien
- "I just came out and hit some shots. Obviously, not the whole game. Teammates got me involved, I felt like the second half things started going my way." Hansbrough
- "I think the trade rumors going around, I think it had him on edge a little bit. You could definitely see it the last two nights. He was just out there comfortable. He was out there making his team look good." George on Anthony
- "In the back of my mind I just knew what happened a couple months ago in Indiana. It was embarrassing not just for me, but for the team. That motivated me tonight." -- Anthony
- "We knew we owed them. We owed that team. We were looking to pay them back." Nuggets guard Chauncey Billups
STAT OF THE GAME
Anthony missed his first six shots of the game but went 14-of-21 the rest of the way. He was the third opponent in four games to score at least 36 against the Pacers on this trip, joining Golden State's Monta Ellis (36) and the Clippers' Blake Griffin (47).
Playing their fourth road game in seven nights and on a back-to-back after losing Saturday in Portland, the Pacers came out strong, leading throughout the first quarter as the Nuggets started cold, missing eight of their first 10.
Anthony and Nene took control in the second quarter, combining for 15 points as Denver outscored the Pacers 32-21 to take a 59-51 lead into the locker room.
Hansbrough did everything he could to keep the Pacers in the game despite Anthony's eruption in the third period, scoring 15 of Indiana's first 16 points to keep the Nuggets within arm's reach. But when Hansbrough headed to the bench the Nuggets pulled away as Anthony made three more 3-pointers in the closing minutes of the period to push the lead to 93-72.
The Nuggets extended the lead to 25 in the fourth quarter before a late flurry by the Pacers trimmed the final margin.
BY THE NUMBERS
Hansbrough shot 10-of-17 and made 7-of-9 from the line for his 27 points, adding 10 rebounds in 30 productive minutes. George was 7-of-10 overall, 2-of-3 from the arc, adding two steals and a block in 27 minutes. Roy Hibbert had 12 points on 6-of-15 shooting and six rebounds and Mike Dunleavy scored 10. Danny Granger, who had averaged 29.3 on the first three games of the trip, never got untracked, shooting 2-of-10 and finishing with just eight points. Darren Collison also struggled to a 2-of-10 night with three turnovers and just two assists. Jeff Foster (eight points, nine rebounds) had a solid game off the bench.
Anthony wound up 14-of-27 overall, 6-of-8 from the 3-point line, adding eight rebounds to his 36 points. Al Harrington scored 16 with five rebounds and four assists off the bench, Nene had 15 points and 10 rebounds, Ty Lawson scored 13 and Chauncey Billups had 12 points and six assists. The Nuggets shot .511 overall and were 11-of-20 from the 3-point line.
- George started the second half in place of Dunleavy.
- Granger left in the fourth quarter with a mild ankle sprain,.
- The Pacers led after the first quarter in every game on the trip, including 30-27 in this one.
- Indiana was 14-27 midway through last season.
- Denver is 120-28 at home since 2007-08, the best mark in the NBA.
- Indiana's defense has yielded an average of 108.2 points in its five-game losing streak.