Game Preview: Pacers at Nuggets
Sunday, January 19, 2020 at 8:00 PM ET at Pepsi Center
Riding high on a four-game win streak, the Pacers (27-15) head out West for a five-game road trip. First up is a Sunday night showdown with one of the Western Conference's top teams, the Denver Nuggets (29-12).
Indiana is starting to get healthy again and it's showing on the court. After missing eight of nine games with an assortment of maladies, starting point guard Malcolm Brogdon returned last week and hit clutch shots down the stretch in each of Indiana's last three victories, including the game-winning basket in the closing seconds of Friday's 116-114 win over Minnesota.
As long as he can stay healthy, Brogdon will soon be joined in the backcourt by All-Star guard Victor Oladipo, who is set to make his long-awaited season debut in the Blue & Gold's first game back at Bankers Life Fieldhouse after this road trip on Jan. 29 against Chicago.
First, though, the Pacers must face a challenging five-game slate that is bookended with visits to two cities where they haven't won in over a decade: Denver and Portland (where they close the trip a week from Sunday).
The Nuggets enter Sunday's contest in second place in the West, but are dealing with injury issues of their own. Three starters will miss the game against the Pacers: point guard Jamal Murray (ankle), small forward Gary Harris (thigh), and power forward Paul Millsap.
Still, Denver has plenty of offensive weapons, including All-NBA center Nikola Jokic. The 7-footer from Serbia leads the Nuggets in points (19.2 per game), rebounds (9.9 per contest), and assists (6.4 per game) while shooting 51 percent from the field. Pacers big men Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis will have their hands full on Sunday night trying to slow down Jokic in the post.
Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Jeremy Lamb, SF - T.J. Warren, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Myles Turner
Nuggets: PG - Monte Morris, SG - Will Barton, SF - Torrey Craig, PF - Jerami Grant, C - Nikola Jokic
Pacers: Jeremy Lamb - questionable (bruised left hip), Victor Oladipo - out (right knee surgery rehab)
Nuggets: Bol Bol – out (left foot injury management), Gary Harris - out (right adductor strain), Paul Millsap - out (left knee contusion/sprain), Jamal Murray – out (left ankle sprain)
January 2, 2020: The Nuggets pulled away late for a 124-116 win over the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
"15 offensive rebounds, 19 second chance points, 66 points in the paint, 18 fastbreak points, they just dominated in all aspects of the game," Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said after the loss. "We never kept them from doing anything and when we forced them to miss, they got the rebound."
The Nuggets outscored Indiana 62-52 in the second half, with Michael Porter Jr. and Nikola Jokic carrying the offense over the final two quarters. Porter scored a career-high 25 points, including 18 in the second half on 8-of-8 shooting. And after being held to just two points in eight minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, Jokic tallied 20 points down the stretch.
Jeremy Lamb led all scorers with 30 points on 9-of-13 shooting (5-of-5 from 3-point range) and pulled down six rebounds. Myles Turner added 21 points in the loss, while T.J. Warren scored 20.
- The Pacers have dropped 10 straight non-home games against the Nuggets, including nine in Denver and a 2017 game in London. Indiana has not won in Denver since Nov. 27, 2007.
- Indiana is just 1-5 this season when playing the first night of a back-to-back, including an 0-5 record on the road.
- Nuggets guard Gary Harris attended Hamilton Southeastern High School and was named Indiana Mr. Basketball in 2012.
After a five-game road trip, the Pacers will return home to host the Chicago Bulls at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 7:00 PM ET. All-Star guard Victor Oladipo plans to make his season debut that night. Find Tickets »
Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 FM/1070 AM The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (studio host)