A pair of teams that would be in the playoffs in their respective conferences if the season ended today meet in an interconference clash in the Mile-High City. The Indiana Pacers are on the road as they travel to face the Denver Nuggets Sunday night. Indiana swept a home and home set with the Timberwolves as they prevailed 116-114 at home Friday night in their last game. Denver rallied to down Golden State 134-131 in overtime Thursday night in their previous contest. The Nuggets lead the all-time regular season series 46-45, including a 124-116 road win in the first matchup this season on January 2.
Indiana Pacers Look to Stay HotIndiana swept their home and home set with the Timberwolves to earn their fourth straight victory. The Pacers entered Saturday second in the Central Division, 9.5 games behind the Bucks in the division race. Indiana is fifth in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, trailing the Bucks by that 9.5-game margin for the top seed in the conference. Against Minnesota, the Pacers led by six after the opening quarter, at the half and after three quarters. With the game tied in the final seconds, Malcolm Brogdon drained the game-winning jumper with 18 seconds to play. The Pacers shot a sizzling 56.1 percent from the field, including eight of 24 from three-point range, and held a 41-36 edge on the glass in the game. T.J. Warren led Indiana with 28 points in the victory.
The Pacers enter this contest tied for 19th in scoring offense with 109.4 points per game on the season. Indiana is 23rd in the league in rebounding with 43.6 boards per contest and stand 6th with 25.9 assists per game. The Pacers are 7th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 106.3 points per game this season. Malcolm Brogdon is third on the team with 17.7 points, 4.5 rebounds plus 7.5 assists per game this season. Domantas Sabonis (17.9 points, 12.9 rebounds), Myles Turner (12.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.1 blocks), T.J. Warren (team-high 18.1 points), Aaron Holiday (10.5 points) and Jeremy Lamb (13.3 points) are all contributing on the offensive end. The Pacers still miss Victor Oladipo, who is on the comeback trail after last season’s knee injury. He hopes to make his season on January 29 against the Bulls. Indiana is tied for 6th in the league in field goal percentage as the team shoots 47.2 percent from the field this season. The Pacers are 29th in threes made per game as they have drained 10.1 triples a night while the team stands tied for 5th in three-point shooting by hitting 36.7 percent from beyond the arc.
Denver Nuggets Try to Keep RollingDenver won their third straight game as they dug themselves out of a big halftime deficit to earn the win over Golden State on the road. The Nuggets entered Saturday with a one-game lead over Utah in the Northwest Division race. In the Western Conference playoff picture, the Nuggets were second in the standings, four games behind the Lakers for the top spot. Denver found themselves in a 15-point hole after the opening quarter. The deficit was 17 at the first half and 12 after three quarters before the Nuggets rallied to force overtime. In the extra session, Denver used an 8-0 run in the middle of the stanza to take a 128-121 lead and led the rest of the way. The Nuggets shot 47 percent from the field, including 17 of 35 from three-point range, and won the rebounding battle 56-42 in the game. Will Barton led the Nuggets with 31 points and seven assists in the win.
The Nuggets enter this contest 18th in the league by averaging 109.5 points per game on the year. Denver is 19th in rebounding by collecting 44.6 boards per night and 3rd in assists by dishing out 26.3 dimes a night. The Nuggets are 5th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 105.5 points per contest this season. Jamal Murray is second on the team with 17.6 points plus 4.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists per contest this season. Nikola Jokic contributes 19.2 points, 9.9 rebounds and 6.4 assists a night. Will Barton (15.1 points, 6.8 rebounds), Gary Harris (11 points), Paul Millsap (11.9 points) and Malik Beasley are solid contributors. Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee, Monte Morris and Juan Hernangomez are key bench pieces for Mike Malone’s group. Denver is 14th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 46.2 percent from the floor as a team this season. The Nuggets are tied for 24th in the league in threes per game as they knock 10.5 triples per contest while the team is 20th in three-point shooting by hitting 35 percent from beyond the arc. Harris (groin) and Millsap (knee) are both out for this contest while Murray is out for the “foreseeable future” after injuring his ankle against the Hornets January 15.
The top trends for this contest according to Covers.com:
- Pacers are 6-14-1 ATS in their last 21 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600
- Nuggets are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game
- Nuggets are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game
- Nuggets are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600