Monday, February 10, 2014 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Game Preview: Pacers vs Nuggets

Scott Agness | February 9, 2014

Matchup

Brian Shaw makes his awaited return to Indianapolis on Monday, when the Pacers welcome him and his Denver Nuggets (24-25) team to Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Shaw was instrumental in the growth of the Pacers over the last two years as the team’s associate head coach.

The first-year head coach played a big role in the growth of Paul George and Lance Stephenson, always challenging them to raise their game and be the best player they could be. As a five-time NBA Champion — three as a player, two as an assistant coach with the Lakers — Shaw could draw on his experiences and better help the Pacers prepare for new trials.

Related: Brian Shaw on his first head-coaching gig and lessons learned from the Pacers

It has been a rocky season for Shaw’s Nuggets. Before the All-Star break, they have four road contests. They lost eight consecutive contests in December, but then later rattled off five wins in a row the next month. Coming into this one, they’ve come up short in four of their past six games, including two straight.

The task will likely be even more difficult for Denver, who’s expect to be without guard Ty Lawson, their leader. Worth 18 points and 8.8 assists, which ranks second in the NBA, per game, Lawson sustained a left rib fracture in Saturday’s loss in Detroit.

This season, the Pacers have ended losing streaks in Utah, San Antonio and Atlanta. Now, they’ll look to end their struggles against the Nuggets, who’ve won the last five meetings.

A key for the league’s-best defense will be to keep the Nuggets under 100 points. They average almost 104 per game, but are just 3-16 this season when failing to score in triple digits. Controlling the glass, and connecting on their foul shots are two other critical points.

Pacers center Roy Hibbert and Ian Mahinmi should have extra motivation for this rematch. Neither played more than 20 minutes in their previous meeting as they both fouled out.

Playing in Orlando the night before, the Pacers will be short on rest and will prepare, in part, on their flight home. On the season, six of their 10 losses have been on the back end of a back-to-back.

Probable Starters

George Hill

George Hill

Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson

Paul George

Paul George

David West

David West

Roy Hibbert

Roy Hibbert

Randy Foye

Randy Foye

Quincy Miller

Quincy Miller

Wilson Chandler

Wilson Chandler

Kenneth Faried

Kenneth Faried

JJ Hickson

JJ Hickson

Injury Update

Pacers: Lance Stephenson (day-to-day, lower back bruise)
Nuggets: Ty Lawson (doubtful, left rib fracture), Danilo Gallinari (out, torn left ACL), Javale McGee (out, left tibia stress fracture), Nate Robinson (out, left ACL sprain)

Quotable

“It was the first place that I had been where I really felt like everyone was connected, everybody really felt like they had some ownership in the team. So to coach around there was great, and I think it was reflected in how things were run there and how the guys on the team played.” – Brian Shaw on his time with the Pacers

“This year for me I kind of labeled it is a year of discovery, for me to get to know and learn our players and to see exactly what he had and what each guy is made of. I’m familiarizing myself with what guys can do, what they can’t do, what their habits are, how I can challenge them, what I need to do to push certain guys’ buttons, who’s sensitive and who can take it.” – Brian Shaw

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers have lost 14 of the last 18 meetings, including one late last month.
  • Pacers assistant Popeye Jones averaged 2.6 points per game in 40 appearances with Denver during the 1999-2000 season.

Last Meeting

Jan. 25: On a five-game trip out west, the Pacers were in Denver after playing in Sacramento the night before. A combination of playing an overtime game, traveling and the thin Denver air affected the Pacers in a 109-96 loss at the Pepsi Center. Indiana trailed wire-to-wire, but cut it to six twice in the fourth, but not any closer.

Lance Stephenson led the Pacers with 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, though he also had six turnovers. Paul George had 18 & 11, and David West added 18. The Nuggets shot 48 percent and seven of the nine players that stepped on the court scored 12 or more points. Wilson Chandler led all scorers with 25 points, a season-high.

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/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)

Tickets

Good seats still remain for this Monday evening matchup. Get Tickets »

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