The Indiana Pacers must have been very angry after blowing a 17-point lead to the Orlando Magic on Sunday. So angry that they took it out on the Denver Nuggets. Poor Denver, apparently they never had a chance.
Indiana showed why they are the owners of the NBA‘s best record with a rousing 119-80 victory over Denver on Monday night at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Every aspect of the Pacers’ style of play was on display Monday night, from their swarming defense to outstanding team play to dominance on the glass.
The Nuggets shot just 31.5 percent for the game. They were out-rebounded 56-37 as Roy Hibbert pulled down 12 boards for Indiana. The Pacers had 21 assists and every single one of their 12 players they used had at least one basket. Six players scored in double figures for the Pacers, with David West leading the way with 25 points. The Pacers shot 57.5 percent from the field and made 23-of-26 free-throw attempts.
Simply put, if Indiana plays like this, it is practically impossible to beat them. The only thing missing was a big night from superstar Paul George, who scored just 12 points in the game.
Coming into Monday’s matchup, Denver was among the league leaders averaging 103.3 points per game. As is the case with many of the opponent’s the Pacers play against, the Nuggets were held well below their season’s average. Opponent’s were averaging just 90.5 points per game against Indiana before Monday.
Denver’s defense has struggled mightily over the last few weeks. They have now given up 100 points or more in 13 of their last 14 games. They are just 5-9 in that stretch.
The backup point guard situation has to be a serious concern for the Nuggets. Nate Robinson recently tore his ACL. Andre Miller and new coach Brian Shaw have been at odds all season long. Ty Lawson sat out with a rib injury. Randy Foye, a more natural shooting guard, was thrust into the starting point guard position. He did finish with 10 assists on the game, but struggled shooting the ball with a 2-of-13 outing.
The Nuggets will undoubtedly be better, especially whenever Lawson comes back. Denver just ran into a buzzsaw against Indiana.