NBA: Nuggets rally back from 18-point hole, edge Pacers
Nikola Jokic shook off foul trouble to score 24 points, Aaron Gordon had 18 points and 16 rebounds and the Denver Nuggets rallied from 18 down to beat the Indiana Pacers 122-119 in Indianapolis on Wednesday night.
Jamal Murray also scored 18, Michael Porter Jr. had 17, Bones Hyland added 16 and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope finished with 15 for Denver.
Bennedict Mathruin scored 30 points, Tyrese Haliburton had 21 points and 11 assists, Isaiah Jackson had 17 points and 10 rebounds, Buddy Hield also scored 17 and Myles Turner had 14 points and 11 rebounds for Indiana.
Jackson’s dunk to open the fourth gave Indiana a 97-89 lead. Jokic, saddled with five fouls, reentered the game with 9:08 left in regulation and scored seven points in a 10-0 run that gave Denver a 108-105 lead.
The teams traded buckets before Andrew Nembhard’s 3-pointer tied it at 110 with 5:50 remaining. Murray hit a layup and a 3-pointer and Jokic canned two free throws to give the Nuggets a 117-112 lead with 2:48 left.
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Turner converted a tip-in, Mathurin split a pair of free throws and Haliburton tied it with a 22-footer with 55.2 seconds left.
Jokic put Denver back in front with a jumper with 35.2 seconds left, Haliburton missed a 3-pointer and a foul and technical foul on the Pacers led to three free throws and a 122-117 lead for the Nuggets.
The Pacers had a chance to send it to overtime but Turner missed a 26-footer at the buzzer.
The Nuggets led by 12 in the first quarter, but Indiana dominated the second quarter to gain control.
The Pacers opened the period on an 18-2 run and then closed the quarter on a 20-12 run to lead 70-56 at the half.
Indiana increased its lead to 87-69 on a 3-pointer from Jalen Smith with 6:57 left in the third quarter when Denver started to chip away.
Caldwell-Pope hit a trio of 3-pointers and Hyland a pair of free throws to get the Nuggets within 91-84, but the Pacers pushed the lead back to 11 before Denver cut the deficit to 95-89 heading into the fourth.