Pacers Fall to Nuggets in London
Al Jefferson and the Indiana Pacers have been on a roll lately but they were unable to carry that success across the pond, falling 140-112 to the Denver Nuggets Thursday afternoon in London’s O2 Arena.
“We had to prepare just as Denver did,” said head coach Nate McMillan. “I thought we had two solid practices and I thought we were ready to play this game, but I thought tonight we had mental errors, most our mistakes were self-inflicted. They beat us to the ball, they won the hustle game, we were just a step slow.”
Though the Pacers missed their first three shots, the game was close in the first quarter. The Nuggets led by eight with 8:11 left in the quarter, but Indiana reeled off a 7-0 run to stay in the game. Denver threatened again late in the quarter but Big Al hit a short jumper over Nikolai Jokic to pull the Pacers within three. Al cut the deficit to one, 28-27, a minute later with a nifty spin move to the hoop around Jusuf Nurkic and finger roll layup. The Pacers trailed 30-29 after 12 minutes.
The Nuggets gained a bit of separation by opening the second quarter with an 11-3 run, but Indiana held strong and was able to keep the deficit at four for most of the quarter. Denver again gained the advantage, outscoring the Pacers by seven over the final five minutes of the quarter to take a 67-56 lead into halftime.
The Nuggets seized the game in the third quarter, outscoring the Pacers 25-8 in the first six minutes out of the locker room to open a 20-plus point advantage. Indiana was outscored 39-20 in the quarter and 73-56 in the second half.
Al finished with four points and two rebounds in eight minutes of first half action.
The Pacers allowed Denver to shoot 57 percent from the field and were bullied on the glass 48-34. In losing the rebounding battle, they were also outscored 70-48 in the paint, a strength during the five game win streak.
“You can learn something from every game,” said Pacers guard Glen Robinson III after the game. “We know we’re a lot better team than what we showed tonight. Just got to get back home and get on track.”
The Pacers will head back home where they will get a couple days to rest before playing the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday. Tipoff is at 4 p.m. EST.