INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Denver’s Andre Miller brought back a blast from the past Friday night.
The 36-year-old backup guard scored eight of his 15 points during a 10-0 run in the final three minutes, leading the Nuggets past the Indiana Pacers 92-89.
Miller had a hand in all of the points, also getting an assist on JaVale McGee’s dunk during the decisive spurt.
McGee dominated the first half and finished with a season-high 20 points off the bench, helping Denver (10-10) win for 13th time in its last 16 games against the Pacers and for the seventh time in the last nine games in Indy.
Indiana (10-10) was looking for its first three-game winning streak of the season and had a chance to force overtime when George Hill blocked a Denver shot with about 5 seconds to go. Hill raced down the floor and took an off-balance 3 just before the buzzer sounded, but the ball bounced errantly off the rim. Hill finished with 15 points, while Paul George led the Pacers with 22 points.
And Denver needed every point from Miller and McGee to survive this one.
Despite trailing for most of the second half and 80-74 midway through the fourth quarter, Indiana refused to let Denver pull away.
They closed to 82-81 when Hill completed a three-point play with 4:32 to go. Forty seconds later, Roy Hibbert tied the score by making 1 of 2 free throws, and then George knocked down a 3 with 3:32 to play. That gave the Pacers an 85-82 lead and sent the crowd into a frenzy.
But Miller’s poise changed the game.
He started the run with two free throws, then scored on a layup and hit a 15-footer. After feeding McGee for a breakaway dunk, he closed the run with a 14-foot pullup shot — rekindling images of his All-Star days. Suddenly, Denver had a 92-85 lead with 1:01 left in the game.
George knocked down another 3 with 59.2 seconds to play, and Lance Stephenson made 1 of 2 free throws with 29.9 seconds left to make it a one-possession game.
But the Pacers couldn’t get any closer.
Like McGee, Corey Brewer came off the bench and finished with 20 points.
All five Indiana starters scored in double figures, including David West who had 18 points and 11 rebounds, but the Pacers’ bench was outscored 55-12.
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