MIKE DUNLEAVY
Scored 23 points, his most since joining the Pacers, on 9-of-15 shooting (including 3-of-7 from the 3-point line), adding 11 rebounds and three assists.
RICK CARLISLE
"We're just struggling right now. We're going to have to stick with it, keep fighting, keep battling. When you go through these kinds of periods it can seem like you're light-years away when you're usually not as far away as you think. We have to stick together as a team, play hard, play unselfishly and we'll get through this."
Points in the Paint:
Pacers 36, Nuggets 36
Fast-break points:
Pacers 18, Nuggets 10
2nd-chance points:
Nuggets 13, Pacers 10
Points off turnovers:
Pacers 26, Nuggets 17
Starters scoring:
Nuggets 92, Pacers 81
Bench scoring:
Pacers 14, Nuggets 10
The Pacers outscored the Nuggets 28-6 from the field in the fourth quarter but Denver scored 20 points from the free-throw line to preserve the victory.
The Pacers conclude their busy week Sunday afternoon (2:30) against Elton Brand and the Los Angeles Clippers.
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  • DENVER 102, INDIANA 95
    Nuggets Whistle Past Pacers

    By Conrad Brunner | Feb. 9, 2007


    Facing a 13-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter, the Pacers promptly held Denver to 2-of-11 shooting, forced eight turnovers and outscored the visitors 28-6 from the field in the final period.

    But this is not the story of an inspiring comeback victory. It is the tale of a maddening defeat.

    Outscoring the Pacers 20-4 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, the Nuggets withstood the rally thanks to a constant stream of whistles that left the home team up in arms. Five technical fouls were called on the protesting Pacers, including two each and ejections for Coach Rick Carlisle in the third quarter and Darrell Armstrong in the fourth.

    Armstrong, who had been attempting to serve as an intermediary, took exception to something official Eli Roe said and erupted with 6:28 remaining. He had to be restrained by several teammates and kicked a chair on his way out of the arena.

    Denver outscored the Pacers 32-11 from the line. Two Nuggets, Nene (14) and Carmel Anthony (13) attempted at least as many free throws as the entire Indiana team (13).

    The Pacers (26-24) thus dropped their third in a row on the homestand, falling to 15-10 at Conseco Fieldhouse. The Nuggets (24-24) beat Indiana for the sixth consecutive time and snapped a three-game losing streak in the process despite the absence of injured star Allen Iverson, out with a sprained ankle.


    PLUSES

    Mike Dunleavy had what may be a breakout game, scoring 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting, including 3-of-7 from the arc. He also had a team-high 11 rebounds and three assists. Danny Granger scored 19, Jermaine O'Neal 16 and Troy Murphy 14 with six rebounds. Jamaal Tinsley had nine assists and just one turnover.
    MINUSES
    O'Neal was showing the effects of a bruised left knee, missing nine of 15 shots and pulling just four rebounds. Tinsley had another poor shooting game (3-of-16). Though they defended the Nuggets relatively well for three periods, they fell apart in the third, allowing 15-of-24 shooting and 36 points as the Nuggets built their double-digit lead.

    Anthony scored 34, going 11-of-24 from the field and 12-of-13 from the line, adding six rebounds and five assists. Eduardo Najera scored 18 with nine rebounds, making 8-of-9 shots. Linas Kleiza scored 15, making the Nuggets' only two baskets of the fourth quarter. Nene had 14 points and seven rebounds and Steve Blake scored 11 with eight assists. The Nuggets shot .485 and outrebounded the Pacers 41-37.


    MOMENTS
    The first half was played at Indiana's preferred pace. Though Anthony scored 18, no other Nuggets got loose and it was 40-all heading into the third quarter. Denver immediately changed the tone with a 17-6 run to start the second half that included Carlisle's ejection. The Pacers responded with a 15-5 counter to close to 62-61 but Anthony warmed up and sparked a critical 14-0 burst that pushed the Nuggets to a 76-61 lead.

    Dunleavy brought the Pacers back to live, scoring seven points in a 13-0 run that cut the lead to 76-74 with 8:29 remaining. O'Neal made a pair of free throws to close to 78-76, but things rapidly devolved. Kleiza made Denver's only two baskets of the fourth quarter, both threes, but they were separated by nearly five minutes. In between, the Nuggets scored 14 in a row from the line. When Kleiza's second bucket fell, the visitors led 98-87 with 2:19 left. The Pacers managed to cut into the final margin but did not threaten the lead.


    TIDBITS
  • Carlisle was tossed for protesting a no-call when he believed Nene committed an offensive foul against O'Neal. It was his first ejection since Dec. 30 against Charlotte.
  • O'Neal blocked two shots to raise his career total to 1,109, two behind franchise leader Rik Smits (1,111).
  • Marquis Daniels missed his seventh consecutive game with left knee tendinitis.
  • Denver was missing two starters, Iverson and center Marcus Camby (groin).