Friday, December 7th at 7:00 PM EST at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: IND 89, DEN 92
by Scott Agness | December 7, 2012 | Updated: 11:07 PM
It was a battle of two teams moving in opposite directions Friday night. The Pacers had won four of their last five whereas the Denver Nuggets had dropped four of five. The Nuggets went on a 10-0 run late, eight coming from Andre Miller, and George Hill's 3-pointer at the buzzer didn't drop and they escaped with a 92-89 road win.
The Pacers jumped out to a 12-2 lead, scoring 12 in a row and forcing Nuggets head coach George Karl to take a timeout. The Nuggets attacked inside and crashed the boards, responding later with a 12-5 run just before George Hill drained a three to close the first quarter and give the Pacers a 28-22 lead.
The big story in the first half was production in the paint for the visitors. Denver’s first 24 points were scored in the lane and 30 of their first 33 points in the opening two quarters. The Pacers allowed far too many easy buckets and offensive rebounds, which the Nuggets thrived off of. David West and Nuggets center JaVale McGee were perfect from the field (7-for-7) and had 16 points at the break as the Pacers trailed 51-50.
The game remained tight in the third quarter. After the Nuggets pushed ahead 58-55, the Pacers went on a 9-2 run to regain the lead 62-60. The game was tied twice and the teams exchanged the lead four times in the quarter. With one quarter remaining, the Nuggets held a one-point advantage 69-68.
After a tight first three quarters, the final period was full of runs. The Nuggets struck first with a 7-0 run to take an 80-74 lead and the Pacers later responded with an 11-2 run to make it 85-82. The Nuggets then ripped off 10 in a row, including eight by Miller, to take a 92-85 lead with about a minute remaining. Paul George hit a corner three to make it a three point game and, down at the other end, the Nuggets turned the ball over on a George Hill blocked shot. Coming off the block, the Pacers pushed the ball up the court and Lance Stephenson was fouled on his way to the basket. Lance hit just one of his two free throws, leaving the Pacers within striking distance, 92-89, with 29.9 seconds to play.
Figuring to have the final possession, the Pacers chose not to foul the Nuggets and it temporarily paid off. With seven seconds left in the game, George Hill came up with another block, this one against Ty Lawson. Hill drove down-court, did a back-and-forth pass with West at the top of the 3-point line and then let fly a challenged 3-pointer that just missed off the rim. During the shot, Denver defender Ty Lawson jumped in the air and George Hill tried to draw contact on the play, but the referees didn't call it. Many members of the Pacers bench were shocked by the no-call and, as the referees left the floor, the crowd rained down boos on them.
All of that is just window dressing now, though. Final score: Nuggets 92, Pacers 89. It was the Nuggets third straight win over the Pacers.
Inside the Numbers
All five Pacers starters finished in double figures, led by Paul George for the third straight game with 22, plus six assists and six rebounds. David West registered his seventh double-double of the year (18 points, 11 rebounds), and George Hill finished with 15 points, a season-high 10 assists and three blocks, including two in the final 37 seconds.
Denver’s bench played better than their starters and outscored Indiana’s bench 55-12. It was the fifth game where they’ve allowed at least 48 points from an opponent’s bench.
JaVale McGee didn’t miss a shot (9-for-9) and scored 20 points, as did Corey Brewer, both off the bench. Kosta Koufos scored 12 and Andre Iquodala had 10.
The Nuggets only turned it over eight times, a season-low. They also converted 19 Pacers turnovers into 23 points.
The Nuggets, who have scored over 100 points in each of their last eight games, were held to 92.
The Pacers assisted on 27 of their 34 field goals (79 percent), which tied a season-high. Quoteworthy
"They obviously won the battle of the paint. They’re number one in the league in points in the paint and we’re number one guarding the paint. They got the best of that battle tonight clearly and that was pretty much the difference in the game." – Frank Vogel
"In a scramble situation, which is where you get your best looks at the 3-point shot, I thought there was marginal contact but George was leaning in and probably initiated it... I was ready to use (a timeout) but then George got an advantage break." – Frank Vogel on the final play
"They had a great plan, much like we did with the Lakers a couple games ago, trying to make the extra pass against Dwight Howard. They did a great job of penetrating the seams, drawing our help and then finding guys in the interior." – Frank Vogel on Denver’s production in the paint
"I was seeing that he jumped up in the air. I thought that was a rule, once you jump up in the air, it’s a foul, even on any slight contact." – George Hill on the last play
"They’re a team that really gets up and down, and if you don’t match that, you’re in trouble. They came out and really brought it up a level and it kind of took us some time to adjust to that... They're an athletic team and that was a struggle for us." – Paul George on the Nuggets
Stat of the Game
The Nuggets scored their first 24 points inside the lane and finished with 54 for the night.
- The Nuggets have won 13 of their last 16 games vs. the Pacers.
- Through 20 games, the Pacers are now 10-10.
- The Pacers failed to string three wins together for the third time this season.
- Jeff Foster was seated courtside at the game with his son.
The Pacers travel to Oklahoma City to face the defending Western Conference Champions on Sunday (7 PM EST).
Back at home: Wednesday, Dec. 12th vs. Cleveland (7 PM EST). The game features Cash 5 Promotion with Hoosier Lottery tickets along with regularly-priced seats. Buy Tickets »