Will Barton scored 30 points, Zeke Nnaji had a career-high 19 points, and the host Denver Nuggets beat the Indiana Pacers 101-98 on Wednesday night.
The Pacers had a chance to force overtime after Denver’s Bones Hyland split a pair of free throws with six seconds left, but Jeremy Lamb missed a 3-point attempt at the horn.
Jeff Green and Hyland scored 12 apiece and Monte Morris had 10 points for the Nuggets, who won their third straight despite not having MVP Nikola Jokic.
The NBA suspended Jokic for one game for his hit on Miami’s Markieff Morris on Monday night. Denver was also without Michael Porter Jr., who missed his second straight game due to lower back soreness.
Malcolm Brogdon scored 25 points, Domantas Sabonis had 20 points and 19 rebounds, T.J. McConnell added 16 points and Myles Turner had 13 points and six blocks for Indiana.
The Pacers played without guard Caris LeVert due to lower back soreness. LeVert missed the six first games before making his season debut Oct. 30.
The Nuggets led by one midway through the fourth quarter after Barton hit a pair of 3-pointers that Brogdon matched each time.
Barton sank another 3-pointer to put Denver up 90-86, and it was 94-88 before McConnell and Brogdon hit layups to cut the Pacers’ deficit to two points with 2:10 remaining.
Gordon and Sabonis traded put-back dunks, and two misses by the Nuggets gave Indiana a chance to tie in the last minute.
Green was called for a foul on Sabonis with 42.3 seconds left, but the ruling was overturned on a challenge by coach Michael Malone. Barton then hit a running layup with 27.2 seconds left to put Denver ahead by four.
The game was tied at 44 at halftime, and Indiana raced out to a 56-48 lead early in the third quarter.
Barton led a comeback for the Nuggets. He had a steal and a layup, hit a 3-pointer and added another layup during a 9-0 run that gave Denver a 57-56 lead, and the Nuggets went into the fourth ahead 69-65.
–Field Level Media