Indiana Pacers (34-8) at Denver Nuggets (20-21)
Location: Pepsi Center, Denver, CO
Tip: 9:00 p.m. EST/7:00 p.m. MT
TV: Check local listings
Line: IND -2.0
The Indiana Pacers are riding high, and rightfully so.
Coming off a thrilling 116-111 overtime victory over the host Sacramento Kings on Friday night, the Pacers will attempt to complete the back-to-back sweep tonight versus the Denver Nuggets. Indiana is undefeated on the first night of back-to-back sets, and 6-5 on the second night.
On Friday, it was Paul George that sealed the deal for the Pacers. George scored a team-high 36 points, including a rare four-point conversion with 15.1 seconds remaining that sent the game to overtime. Indiana trailed by four at the time and Sacramento was unable to sink a basket as time expired in regulation.
George scored 12 of Indiana’s final 17 points as the Pacers escaped with the overtime win, thus giving them some momentum heading into tonight’s matchup with Denver.
Like Phoenix, the Nuggets are a dangerous bunch. New head coach, and former Indiana associate head coach, Brian Shaw likes to get his team out in transition. Denver has always been a high-tempo offensive team, but lacking defensively. Nevertheless, they can put up points in a hurry.
Indiana needs to watch for Denver trying to get off to a quick start like the Pacers’ previous two opponents have – Phoenix and Sacramento. The Pacers are 1-1 in the past two games, with both opponents getting out to early double-digit leads, forcing Indiana to come from behind and scratch their original game plan.
Thus, I would hope Pacers head coach Frank Vogel tries to get his offense going early. That means pushing the ball up court with Lance Stephenson and Paul George.
Denver is without starting forward Danilo Gallinari, putting Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee up against David West and Roy Hibbert. Faried and McGee are extremely athletic and Indiana has to watch for pick-and-rolls close to the basket with point guard Ty Lawson.
Lawson will lob it to either of those guys for easy dunks all night if it’s working, and that play has been working against Indiana’s league-leading defense the past two games.
Indiana could be worn out after last night, but they will battle. Unfortunately, the Nuggets defeat the Pacers 106-99.
Tags: Indiana Pacers