After a huge letdown in in Orlando on Sunday, the Pacers rebounded—no pun intended—on Monday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, turning in their best offensive performance of the season in a 119-80 over the Nuggets.
It all started with David West, who came ready to play from the start. He put up 25 points in under 27 minutes. In fact, he was on such a roll that coach Vogel broke from his customary pattern of subbing him out at the 4-minute mark, opting to leave hum in the entire quarter. West shot 8-for-10 in the period along, including an 8-footer, a long 2-pointer and even a couple layups for good measure. He managed to put the Pacers up 31-20 by the quarter’s end after trailing 11-10.
Sure, the Pacers have not played their most disciplined basketball over the past 5 games. But let us not forget they still lead the league with a 40-11 record, including a 25-2 home record, and the No. 1 defense. This is a team that has not lost back-to-back games since the middle of December. What’s more, they lead the league in scoring differential. Oh, and did I mention they lead the 2-time defending champion Miami Heat by 4 games? ‘Nuff said.
Lance Stephenson scored 12 points in the win, and proved how hard he can be to stop in the paint.
One thing that should give other teams cause for concern, was the fact that the Pacers didn’t even need -Star starter Paul George to be on top of his game Monday night. He managed only 12 points, in addition to 5 rebounds and 4 assists—hardly a dominate performance.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that Denver’s was missing so many key starters. Monday’s loss was the third in a row, with this one being perhaps the most embarrassing.
The last time these two teams played the outcome was no better, as Indiana crushed Denver in a 31-point blowout in November 2010.
Roy Hibbert finished the game with a total of 14 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 blocks. It was definitely an improvement over his performance in the last meeting with Denver, when he fouled out with five points and three rebounds.
The Pacers host the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 7:00 p.m. EST.