Pacers try to shake off loss in matchup with Nuggets
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Indiana Pacers failed in their bid to become the first Eastern Conference team with 40 wins, so they'll try again Monday versus the Denver Nuggets at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Pacers headed to Orlando riding a four-game winning streak and even possessed a 17-point lead late in the third quarter. However, the Magic, who were coming off a buzzer-beating win over Oklahoma City, stormed back with a huge run to take control for a 93-92 victory.
Indiana had a chance at the end for the win, but a well-defended Paul George saw his 18-foot attempt miss the mark. George led all scorers with 27 points and Lance Stephenson returned from injury to record 16 points and nine rebounds for Indiana, which had won four in a row against the Magic.
"There was a stretch there in the third where we could have put them away. We were a little bit careless with some possessions where we could have put them away, and it was costly," said Pacers coach Frank Vogel.
David West (14) and George Hill (12) rounded out the double-digit scorers.
The Pacers will start a three-game homestand Monday versus Denver, Dallas and Atlanta, and have won three straight as the host. They own an NBA-best 24-2 mark at home and are outscoring opponents by 14.3 points per game as the host.
Indiana is 7-1 against the West at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Nuggets will resume their four-game road trip and fell to 0-2 on the trek following losses at New York and Detroit. The Knicks hammered the Nuggets 117-90 and the Pistons recorded a 126-109 triumph on Saturday, when Denver lost every quarter and shot 46.6 percent.
Randy Foye and Wilson Chandler scored 25 and 20 points, respectively, while J.J. Hickson added 15 points to go with 16 rebounds. The Nuggets were able to pull within 106-100 midway through the fourth quarter, but Detroit used a 10-4 burst to pull away. The Nuggets have lost seven of the last 11 games.
"As a team, as a group, we have to do a better job of fighting. We can make shots, we can hit threes, but when it comes down to getting stops, we have to do it," said Foye, who is averaging 17.2 ppg in his last 17 contests.
Nuggets point guard and leading scorer Ty Lawson (18.0 ppg) suffered a fractured rib late in the first half and did not return. He is expected to miss Monday's game.
Denver is 10-14 away from the Mile High City and will close the trip Wednesday against Minnesota.
The Nuggets have given up at least 100 points in seven straight games and are 28th in the NBA in opponents' scoring (103.9 ppg). They defeated Indiana 109-96 on Jan. 25 at the Pepsi Center behind Chandler's 25 points.
Stephenson tallied 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in that one for Indiana, which has lost five in a row, seven of eight and 15 of the last 18 matchups in this series. Denver has won seven of nine games in Indy.
02/10 11:24:24 ET