Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 9:00 PM ET at the Pepsi Center

Game Preview: Pacers at Nuggets

Scott Agness | January 24, 2014

Matchup

The Pacers will see a familiar friend on the opposite bench Saturday night in the Mile High City. Brian Shaw, Frank Vogel’s top assistant, finally was given an opportunity to be a head coach in the NBA after playing in the league and then spending nearly a decade on the sidelines.

Since becoming the Nuggets’ (20-21) head coach in late June, Shaw still remains in contact with so many folks at the Pacers – players, coaches and staff members. Though his inherited personnel doesn’t quite fit the mold he would like, he’s making the most of it. There was a lot of changeover in the offseason, from the front office, to obviously the coaching staff. Shaw even brought on a former Pacers assistant, Lester Conner (2007-2010), who also played for the Pacers in 1994.

It’s been a streaky, up-and-down season for the Shaw’s Nuggets. This month, they won five straight games but have since dropped three of their past four games. Beginning with the Pacers on Saturday, the Nuggets are at home for five of their next six games.

Denver’s bench is one of the better groups in the league, ranking third in points (41.4) and first in rebounds (18.5) per game. They have six players averaging in double figures. The Pacers, in comparison, are 25th (26.1) — primarily because their core is so talented. The Nuggets are a very good rebounding, and shot-blocking team, and look to push the tempo at any opportunity. They play undisciplined at times, turning the ball over nearly 17 times per game and committing the sixth-most fouls in the league.

Without a draft pick last June, the Nuggets acquired Darrell Arthur and Randy Foye in trades, and signed guard Nate Robinson. Individually, point guard Ty Lawson is their leading performer, worth almost 18 points and nine assists (third in the NBA) per contest. Guard Randy Foye has excelled this month, averaging 17.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.9 assists while shooting 52 percent from 3-point range.

Last season, the Nuggets had the NBA’s best home record, 38-3. They should’ve had another, to the Pacers, if not prevented by a controversial finish. The Pacers own that title this season, with a 21-1 mark at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Indiana looks to avenge their two losses to Denver last season, by three points and one, respectively. This will be their fourth straight road game, but even more concerning, the Pacers are playing on consecutive nights, where five of their eight losses have occurred.

Probable Starters

George Hill

George Hill

Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson

Paul George

Paul George

David West

David West

Roy Hibbert

Roy Hibbert

Ty Lawson

Ty Lawson

Randy Foye

Randy Foye

Wilson Chandler

Wilson Chandler

Kenneth Faried

Kenneth Faried

JJ Hickson

JJ Hickson

Injury Update

Pacers: None
Nuggets: Darrell Arthur (out, left hip strain), Danilo Gallinari (out, torn left ACL), Javale McGee (out, left tibia stress fracture)

Noteworthy

  • The Nuggets have won 14 of the last 17 meetings, including four straight at the Pepsi Center.
  • Like the Pacers’ Paul George, Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried was named to the initial 2014-16 US Men’s National Team roster on Thursday.
  • Pacers forward Chris Copeland, who was born in New Jersey, attended Colorado University (2002-06).
  • Pacers assistant Popeye Jones averaged 2.6 points per game in 40 appearances with Denver during the 1999-2000 season.

Last Meeting

Jan. 28: In the final game of a four-game trip out west, the Pacers nearly came back from a 14-point deficit. Tied at 101 with five seconds left, Paul George lost the ball after being bumped by Nuggets forward Andre Iguodala. After no foul was called – days later, the league said a foul should’ve been issued — the officials then called a foul on George, who jumped up in the air on the inbounds pass while defending Iguodala. Iguodala hit the first free throw to give the Nuggets, who scored 21 fast-break points, a 102-101 win.

Paul George finished with a double-double, 23 points and 10 rebounds, in 44 minutes. Lance Stephenson had 20 and George Hill had 12 points, plus six dimes. Danilo Gallinari was 9-of-16 from the field and had a game-high 27 points. Ty Lawson finished with 18 and Iguodala added 13 points and 10 rebounds. The Nuggets didn’t make a shot in the final 5:45, but their three shots at the line were enough.

Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: FM 107.5 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)

11-Game Fan's Choice »
Purchase an 11-Game Pack and choose your favorite games to attend.