Pacers at Nuggets

Game Preview: Pacers at Nuggets

Wednesday, November 10, 2021 at 9:00 PM ET at Ball Arena

Pacers.com Game Preview presented by DraftKings

Matchup

After their first two-day rest of the season, the Pacers are gearing up for perhaps the toughest back-to-back slate in the NBA for Eastern Conference teams — visits to the Denver Nuggets and the Utah Jazz.

Up first are the Denver Nuggets (6-4), who will be looking for their third-straight victory after defeating the Miami Heat, 113-96, on Monday night. However, they will be without a few key players when entering their bout with the Blue & Gold.

The Nuggets are already playing without Jamal Murray as he continues to recover from a torn ACL suffered late last season. Last Saturday, Denver escaped with a 95-94 win over the 1-9 Houston Rockets but it came at a cost. In the first quarter, third-year guard Michael Porter Jr. (9.9 points, 6.6 rebounds per game) appeared to injure his back after a seemingly innocuous layup attempt on a 3-on-0 fast break. He exited a few plays later and did not return. On Monday, Nuggets head coach Michael Malone announced he would be out for the "foreseeable future." Porter agreed to a five-year rookie-scale max extension on September 29.

To boot, the mile-high squad will be without 2020-21 NBA MVP Nikola Jokic. Against the Heat, the 6-11, 284-pound center retaliated to a shove from Markieff Morris, sending Morris to the ground injured. Jokic was ejected for his aggression and the NBA officially suspended Jokic for Wednesday's game on Tuesday night. Through 10 games, he has been averaging team-highs in points (25.4), rebounds (13.6), and assists (5.7).

With that, the Pacers are primed to take a victory away from Ball Arena — especially after their inspiring performance against the Sacramento Kings on Sunday. Indiana's defense limited the high-scoring Kings to just 91 points in a winning effort. T.J. McConnell, who has been playing solidly in place of Malcolm Brogdon, made several key buckets down the stretch. Another positive has been the dominant paint presence of Myles Turner. The big man appears to have upped his physical play this year and is averaging career highs in points (14.5) and rebounds (8.5) over the first 11 games. Turner is also shooting 41.1 percent from three, forcing opponents to shift out of the paint and guard the perimeter. The open space is allowing the Blue & Gold to play Rick Carlisle's style of offense effectively.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - T.J. McConnell, SG - Chris Duarte, SF - Caris LeVert, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Myles Turner
Nuggets: PG - Monte Morris, SG - Will Barton, SF - Jeff Green, PF - Aaron Gordon, C - JaMychal Green

Injury Report

Pacers: Malcolm Brogdon - questionable (non-COVID illness), Isaiah Jackson - out (left knee injury), T.J. Warren – out (left foot stress fracture)

Nuggets: Monte Morris - probable (left patellar tendinopathy), Vlatko Cancar – out (left hip strain), Nikola Jokic - out (suspension), Jamal Murray – out (left knee injury recovery), Michael Porter Jr. – out (sore lower back)

Last Meeting

Marc 15, 2021: Indiana overcame a 20-point deficit to take a 91-87 lead into the fourth quarter. However, when it came time to secure the win, Indiana struggled mightily. The Blue & Gold tallied just two points over the first 7:04 of the fourth quarter as the Nuggets regained the lead using a 22-2 run. Denver outscored Indiana, 34-15 in the frame to take home a 121-106 victory.

Five Pacers finished in double figures, with Malcolm Brogdon leading all with 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting. Justin Holiday tallied 19, including five triples, and Caris LeVert added 17 in the loss. Domantas Sabonis narrowly missed a triple-double with 10 points, 10 assists, and nine boards. Nikola Jokic had 32 and 14 rebounds to lead Denver.

Denver used a 17-0 run, including four consecutive threes, to break open a 35-35 game in the second quarter. However, Indiana continued to fight back in the frame. Using runs of their own, the Blue & Gold managed to cut the lead down to single digits, 65-56, after Brogdon drove past his defender for an easy layup before halftime.

Indiana earned its first lead of the game on Brogdon's 3-pointer at the 6:47 mark of the third. The game remained a back-and-forth affair until the fourth. Indiana maintained a four-point edge heading into the final frame despite a wild sequence on defense. Somehow, the Pacers allowed seven consecutive offensive boards to the Nuggets. Yet Denver still came up empty.

But the squad stumbled to start the fourth, failing to find a bucket until Sabonis tipped in a miss with 7:05 to go. By then, it was too little, too late. Indiana never threatened Denver's lead again.

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers earned their first win in Denver since Nov. 27, 2007, with a 115-107 win on Jan. 19, 2020.
  • Indiana is just 16-30 all-time on the road against the Nuggets during the regular season.
  • Will Barton, potentially the Nuggets' main scoring threat for this upcoming game, averaged 18 points per contest against the Pacers last season.

Tickets

After a four-game Western Conference road trip, the Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, Nov. 13 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: Bally Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (studio host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)





by Brendan Rourke
Pacers.com Contributor

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