2010-2011 Game 43: Denver Nuggets 121 Indiana Pacers 107

Box score | Highlights

On November 9th, the Nuggets gave up 144 points in a loss to the Pacers after fumbling away a tough game in Chicago the night before. Regardless of fatigue, it was an embarrassing performance in which Indiana dominated throughout and made their first 20 shots in a 54 point third quarter. Tonight the Nuggets got their opportunity for revenge, with the Pacers on the second game of a back to back this time as their road trip comes to a close in Denver. After a slow start, the Nuggets pass the ball and shoot lights out behind Melo’s 36 points to pay back Indiana with a blowout of their own.

This year the Nuggets have moved to a more traditional pick and roll defense and avoided switching everything for the most part. Tonight the Nuggets insisted on switching screens early resulting in a bevy of scoring opportunities for Roy Hibbert and Tyler’s Hansbrough. On the other end, the Nuggets were forcing it against Indiana’s solid interior defense and couldn’t put the ball in the hole. The Pacers jumped out to an early lead by controlling the boards and attacking the rim often against mismatches. Through some combination of fatigue and inexperience, the Pacers quickly stopped pressing their advantage and the Nuggets finally got into a rhythm offensively.

Chauncey kept the Nuggets afloat through a slow first quarter, and after a bad performance against LA the Nuggets bench came alive in the second. Without Melo and Chauncey, the Nuggets started the quarter on a 19-10 run and seized back momentum. Lawson’s speed again was a huge factor, forcing the Pacers into quick shots and turnovers on a night they looked sluggish and fatigued. With Hibbert and Hansbrough resting, Nene asserted himself in the paint and dominated.  It really only took a few strong defensive plays and forced turnovers in the second that sapped all the energy Indiana had left.

In the third quarter, the Nuggets continued passing the ball and pushing the pace in their favor. Pacers coach Jim O’Brien elected to start rookie Paul George in the second half and had him defend Carmelo. That was a bad choice. Melo abused him off the dribble and caught fire from deep – scoring five three threes and 23 points total in the third quarter alone. Oddly enough,Indiana continued to let him shoot in from range, but the game felt like garbage time by then and to be fair Melo is only shooting 25% from deep this season.

It was a routine and much needed win for Denver as they embark on a five game eastern road swing. After a bad start it was nice to see Denver adjust and shut down Indiana’s easy scoring down low, outscoring them 44 to 22 points in the paint by the end.

Additional Game 43 Nuggets

  • Tyler Hansbrough is an impressive player who brings an Arron Afflalo like hustle every minute he’s on the floor. He went straight at Melo in the post and routinely outhustled Kenyon and Nene on the glass. During Indiana’s awful third quarter he was the only one fighting back and keeping this one from getting real ugly. He finished with 27 and 10, including 5 offensive boards and making 7/9 from the foul line.
  • Danny Granger was a non factor and left the game in the third with a mild ankle sprain. He wasn’t aggressive from the start and like a few other players looked a half step slow as Indiana winds down their 4 game road trip
  • Former Nugget Dahntay Jones was inactive and seems to have been Renaldo Balkman’d by Indiana. After a signing a four year $11 million dollar contract following a strong one year stint in Denver, he’s only appeared in 8 games this year.
  • The Nuggets limit themselves to ten turnovers and force 14 on Indiana. When the Nuggets pass and take smart shots as they did tonight, they’re nearly unbeatable. It’s a double edged sword that gives Denver a lot of blowout wins at home but precludes them from ever giving a full four-quarters of defensive effort.
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Charlie Yao

Managing Editor at Roundball Mining Company and writer since 2010. Unhealthily obsessed with Nuggets basketball since 2002. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram at the links on the left.
  • ParkHillNative

    I believe Carmelo scored 36 last night, not 38.

    • Charlie

      Fixed. Thanks PHN

  • Clayton

    Hansbrough sure was a factor with his hustle play, but it was awesome to watch his dunk-poster competition vs. Nene. After Hansbrough his poster over Nene, it ticked off Nene for two consecutive over Hansbrough. Nice to get the big guy off his rocker in a game he could have easily disappeared. Maybe it will serve as some notice to the rest of the NBA… Don’t make the baby-Brazilian mad!

  • Andrew

    I should probably rewrite this on the next article about the state of the Nuggets, but I am a really disconcerted Nuggets fan right now. Ujiri seems to have been an awful hire. He lost his only talent, Bosh, in Toronto. Now he seems bent on doing the same in Denver (while alienating players like CBill and Nene along the way), all because he has been dawdling around looking for the “Greatest Trade Ever” for Melo.

    Seriously, if the Nuggets would have made a deal for a big guy in the off season (instead of Harrington), Melo may very well have resigned…maybe for two years…just to see?

    Then, if Ujiri would have just bitten the bullet on a trade to NY or NJ, at least the Nuggs would have something to work with. Instead, it appears as though he and Lil’ Kroenke will get nothing and have managed to alienate Chauncey, Nene and probably every other current Nugget.

    Unless they salvage something by the trade deadline, I think all Nuggets fans should revolt. Can anyone out there give me a reason to believe that the Nuggets will ever get out of the rebuilding mode/first or second round playoff team cycle?

    • GoldenNugget

      Andrew, why don’t you ever voice this?! You have your own freakin’ blog for Christ’s sake, one of the most successful Nuggets blogs of all time (probably the most successful), and yet you never mention this type of stuff! Dude, a blog is all about spilling your thoughts, emotions, etc. and yet here you are coming over to a different one to tell us how you really feel while Jeff spills his emotions like a 68 Corvette spills oil day, after day!

      As for the Ujiri thing, I’m actually on the other side of the fence. I think Ujiri has shown a lot of resiliency and determination in getting the most out of Melo that he can, and it’s really impressed me that he hasn’t just settled on the first thing that came his way. We can’t really judge until this is all settled, but I have a feeling come Feb., that there are gonna be a lot of teams lined up to get a shot at the ME-lo show and Ujiri will likely capitolize via a three-way trade.

      • Clayton

        For some reason I’m good with Masi, and for the most part – how the situation has played out so far. In the last week I have come to the conclusion that everything can be blamed on three simple letters … C-B-A! No not the defunct semi-pro league, but that nasty balloon over everyone’s head right now, the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Right now I am figuring that when Lil-Kronk and Masi are textin and calling everyone, it is to round up support for the dreaded Franchise Tag (dun dun dunnnnnnnn). Which means Melo is gonna be here a while.

        As for Nene – I don’t see your point Andrew. In what I see he is having one of the best year’s ever. Maybe that is for a new contract, but I haven’t heard of him grumbling about opting out, hating Denver, or anything negative. If anything, Melo leaving makes him a better focus of the squad.

        CBill – yeah that was bad. He wants to stay and nobody wants him to leave. I even believe he would stay as part of a rebuild or opt for a buy out to return if traded. Worst case is he joins the front office upon retiring. How can that be a bridge burned?

        Harrington wasn’t a bad sign. No big available would make Melo wanna stay. And sure it looks like the worst contract on the team right now. But he is who we thought he was. He can just as easily put up 40 one night as lay an egg the next. But his D has been better than advertised I think. The key is to match up his good nights with JRs bad ones and we have a good thing going.

        The only prob I have is Melo’s lack of interest (at times) and KMarts wheels (which don’t seem to run or walk any more). Melo seems to have chilled a bit in the last week, and like I said I think he is going to be here a while. IF we could get something for KMart’s expiring, I think we would be set for a good while.

  • http://www.bing.com/ Jayan

    HHIS I sohldu have thought of that!