The Nuggets didn’t necessarily play well against the Pacers but, thanks to the play of Andre Miller and JaVale McGee, Denver was able to edge out the Pacers 92-89 last night. Andre Miller scored 8 of the Nuggets last 10 points to push Denver past Indiana, he also made a crucial rebound over Lance Stephenson which led to a JaVale McGee dunk to extend Denver’s lead in the waning moments of the game. McGee was very good throughout the game, going back and forth with David West in the first half, scoring bucket after bucket and finishing with a season high 20 points and 8 rebounds on 9-9 shooting from the field. McGee dominated the paint in this game, scoring off of dunks, alley-oops, and even hitting a jumper off of a inbounds pass. He also made two excellent plays, when he went coast to coast finishing the play off with a finger roll and then he threw the ball in over Ian Mahimi, adding him to the JaVale McGee poster club. McGee played his best game by far this season, outperforming All-Star center Roy Hibbert and his teammate Kosta Koufos, making a serious case to George Karl of why he should be starting at center for the mile high crew. Corey Brewer was also phenomenal in this game scoring at least 19 pts for the third straight game, he finished with 20 pts against the Pacers and once again provided Denver with a big spark off of the bench. Brewer once again did a good job on defense(finished with a steal and block), scoring in transition and even hitting a few three’s(went 2-5 from beyond the arc). The Bench was one of, if not the only reason Denver pulled this win out. The Nugget’s Bench outscored the starters 55-37 as Lawson, Faried, Iguodala and Gallinari struggled to score and attack on the offensive end.
Even though both Gallinari and Iguodala struggled on offense, they both scored at very critical moments in the game. Iguodala was able to hit a couple nice jump shots in the fourth quarter, while Gallo drained a three in the fourth to extend Denver’s lead to six. Gallinari also dropped 8 assists in this game, including a nice alley-oop to McGee while also contributing on the glass with 7 rebounds. David West and Paul George killed the Nuggets combining for 40 points, 17 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals against Denver last night, while shooting a combined 17-27 from the field as well. George hit multiple big shots for Indiana, the biggest coming in the closing moments of the fourth quarter where he drained two threes. As for West, he physically beat up the Nuggets big men mainly Kenneth Faried, West was a perfect 8-8 from the field in the first half and found his sweet spot all game knocking down jumper’s one after another. Denver continued to struggle from the free throw line shooting only 65% from the charity strike against Indiana, as well as allowing the Pacer’s to make 43.5% of their three point attempts due to late defensive rotations and poor closeout’s. However the Nuggets did a phenomenal job in forcing Indiana to make mistakes on offense, the Pacers finished with 19 turnovers which Denver had 23 points off of in this game. Denver also did a commendable job on the glass, only getting outrebounded 42-37 by Indiana and taking care of the ball(Denver only committed 8 turnovers).
The Nuggets simply won this game because of their bench(Miller, McGee and Brewer), forcing Indiana to commit so many mistakes on offense and then taking care of the ball themselves on the offensive end of the floor. Denver is now back to .500 at 10-10 and will face the surging New York Knicks tomorrow night at MSG. The Knickerbockers have won five games in a row and currently stand at 14-4, which is the best record in the East. Denver will need to play their best if they are to upset the Knicks at home, who knows maybe Gallo can have another 37 point, 11 rebound outing against Melo, making Nuggets fan’s happier than a pig in you know what.