Preview: Nuggets at Pacers
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[March 24, 2017]
The Indiana Pacers will be
playing at home on Friday, which means they'll probably look like a
team that can do some damage in the playoffs. The Pacers will try to
shake off another road loss and continue their high level at home
when they host the Denver Nuggets on Friday.
Indiana dropped five of its last nine games, with all five of those
losses coming on the road by an average of 13.2, but won the four
home games by an average of 12.3 points. "We have to get off to
better starts, certainly on the road," Pacers coach Nate McMillan
told reporters after watching his team drop a 109-100 decision at
Boston on Wednesday. "We expected this team to come out the second
half more aggressive and raise their play, and we needed to do the
same thing. We just weren't able to do it tonight." The Nuggets are
in their own postseason battle for the No. 8 spot in the Western
Conference and snapped out of a two-game slide with a 126-113 home
win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. Denver is attempting
to hold off a charge by the ninth-place Portland Trail Blazers.
TV: 7p.m. ET, Altitude (Denver), FSN Indiana
ABOUT THE NUGGETS (34-37): Denver needed to bounce back after
dropping both ends of a home-and-home set to the Houston Rockets and
did so in impressive fashion by shooting 53.1 percent from the
floor, led by shooting guard Gary Harris' 21 points on 8-of-14.
"This was the most important game of the season right now," Harris
told reporters. "We’re in the playoff race, and the next one is
going to be just as important." The Nuggets got another impressive
performance on Wednesday from budding star Nikola Jokic, who
collected 16 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists and delivered a
highlight by backing down and scoring over superstar LeBron James.
[to top of second column]
ABOUT THE PACERS (36-35): All-Star forward Paul
George admitted that Indiana was playing like a lottery team on the
road and a playoff team at home before Wednesday's game, and then he
scored 35 points while only one other Pacers player reached double
figures in the loss. "From what I see, everyone is giving it
everything they got or I hope they are because we need all of it,"
George told reporters after the game. Indiana is tied for sixth in
the East with the Milwaukee Bucks, just ahead of eighth-place Miami
and 2 1/2 clear of the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons, who are
tied for ninth.
1. Nuggets reserve swingman Will Barton is averaging 22.2 points on
52.9 percent shooting over the last five games.
2. George is averaging 26.7 points in March after putting up 17.8
points in February.
3. Denver crushed Indiana 140-112 at home on Jan. 12 while shooting
57.8 percent from the floor.
PREDICTION: Pacers 118, Nuggets 113
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