(DENVER, CO) – For the sixth consecutive contest, the Indiana Pacers (23-24) were outscored by their opponent. Tonight, it was the Denver Nuggets (33-13) defeating the Pacers 134-111, making the Pacers 1-6 without Tyrese Haliburton this season.
In the opening quarter the Pacers opening quarter was an encapsulation of the struggles for the Pacers this season. They turned the basketball over five times, struggled to shoot the three-point ball (10%), gave up 22 points in the paint, and were outrebounded by a couple boards. Jamal Murray reached double figures in the quarter for Denver with ten points and Indiana was led in scoring by Chris Duarte with nine points. The score after quarter one was 37-28, but it wasn’t that close the first eleven minutes. In the final sixty-one seconds, the Pacers outscored the Nuggets 8-2.
Quarter number two for the Pacers would be an interesting one…their deficit would grow to as much as sixteen before getting it together on both ends of the floor. They held the Nuggets to 43% from the floor compared to the 71% they shot in the opening quarter. Indiana would eventually cut their deficit down to five at 58-53. Myles Turner was the catalyst for the turnaround for Indiana with six points and Aaron Nesmith was as well with five points late in the first half. Through 24 minutes of action, Denver led 91-53. The only players in double digits were Nuggets players in Michael Porter Jr. (11), Aaron Gordon (10), and Murray (10).
Ball handling would be the achilles heel of the blue and gold during this quarter. The Pacers were in the middle of a 7-0 run and were down ten after being down as much as eighteen points, before turning the ball over three consecutive possessions that resulted in momentum shifting dunks for Denver. In total, Indiana would turn the ball over five times in the quarter and gave up 38 points in the quarter like they did in the first. With 5:21 left in the period, Murray recorded his tenth rebound marking his first career triple double. His stat line after 36 minutes of play was 17 points, 15 assists, and 10 rebounds. In the third quarter alone, Murray dished out seven assists and was one of three Nuggets with seven points. The score after three quarters was 99-82 advantage Denver.
Head Coach Rick Carlisle would predominantly ride his second and third unit in the final twelve minutes of action with the Pacers back in action tomorrow night in Phoenix along with the deficit being insurmountable for his team. The only starter that player for the Pacers was Andrew Nembhard. At one point the Pacers had James Johnson running the point with Trevelin Queen, Terry Taylor, Isaiah Jackson, and Goga Bitadze joining Johnson on the floor. Denver would play three of their five starters in the quarter, with Aaron Gordon leading the way with eleven points in the quarter. The Pacers struggled at the free-throw line going seven for eleven. Denver won their sixteenth straight home game 134-111.
NOTES: The Pacers have given up 79 assists in their last two games and have fallen below .500 for the first time in 2023 and first time since December 18th when they were 15-16. In the last 5 games without Haliburton, Buddy Hield is 11-31 from three and has three games under 10 points.
TOP PERFORMERS: Jamal Murray (17p, 14a, 10r), Aaron Gordon (28p, 6a, 5r), Michael Porter Jr. (19p, 8r), Bennedict Mathurin (19p), and Chris Duarte (18p). To view tonight’s full box score, click here.
NEXT UP: It’s a quick turnaround for the Pacers as they travel to Phoenix to take on the Suns for the first time this season at 9pm. The Kroger Pregame Show with Pat Boylan will start at 8:30pm on 93.5/107.5 The Fan.
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