Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 1/4

Game 1: Wednesday, January 4th
Game 2: Wednesday, March 15th

Pacers 86

(16-13, 6-9 away)

Nuggets 106

(16-17, 11-7 home)

    Coverage: ALT

    7:00 PM ET, January 4, 2006

    Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

    1 2 3 4 T
    IND 25 23 18 2086
    DEN 34 24 21 27106

    Top Performers

    Ind: D. Granger 12 Pts, 6 Reb, 2 Ast, 5 Stl, 1 Blk

    Den: E. Boykins 23 Pts, 3 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl

    Boykins, Anthony score 23 as Nuggets beat Pacers

    DENVER (AP) -- For once, the Denver Nuggets weren't the ones lamenting their injury-riddled lineup or dealing with fourth-quarter fatigue.

    "It was good to have an easy one," Nuggets coach George Karl said after Earl Boykins and Carmelo Anthony each scored 23 points in Denver's 106-86 rout of the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.

    Anthony got to kick back and enjoy this one, too.

    "It was a good feeling not to have to play in the fourth quarter," Anthony said. "It's always good to get some rest. We let a couple (of games) slip away here, but that's old news. We've put it behind us. This is a new year and we have new goals."

    Like getting healthy, returning the run to their repertoire and making a push in the Western Conference.

    Performances like this can go a long way toward keeping the Nuggets in the thick of things until Marcus Camby, the league's leading rebounder, returns from a broken finger several weeks from now.

    Boykins scored 12 points in a 13-2 run that gave the Nuggets a 47-34 lead in the second quarter. His best play came on an alley-oop to fellow guard Earl Watson for a jam that put Denver ahead 86-70 in the fourth quarter when the Nuggets used a four-guard lineup to outrun the tired Pacers.

    "I thought that was probably the most energized Earl's been in a while," Karl said.

    Indiana sorely missed Jermaine O'Neal (pneumonia) in the paint. Stephen Jackson led the Pacers with 21 points but was 6-of-17 from the field. Fred Jones (4-of-12) and Danny Granger each scored 12.

    "We have the same group that played well and won the other night. We're not going to make excuses," said Pacers coach Rick Carlisle, whose team beat Seattle without O'Neal on Monday night. "Our undoing tonight was the first quarter when we allowed them to shoot over 77 percent. That got them going early."

    And the tempo and altitude got to the Pacers.

    "I think we caught them a little bit heavy and I think the pace of the game wore on them," Karl said. "That's good to see. We haven't done that every night like we did last year in this building -- just keeping the pace intense and aggressive. We need more of those games."

    The Nuggets had a 57-37 lead with 2:26 left in the first half but were outscored 11-1 before heading to the locker room with a 58-48 lead. Jackson and Jones each hit a 3 as the Pacers pulled to 62-58 in the opening minutes of the second half, but Anthony scored four points in a 7-0 run that restored the Nuggets' double-digit lead and the Pacers never really threatened again.

    "We got back into the game and ran out of gas," Jackson said. "They kept playing and we didn't keep pushing. We relaxed and they turned it back up."

    O'Neal didn't make the team flight to Denver for the start of Indiana's four-game Western road trip.

    "We're going to see how he's feeling tomorrow," Carlisle said, adding that O'Neal might join the team before their game at Golden State on Thursday night.

    "The good news is he is feeling better; the bad news is he's not ready to get on a plane and come out here and play," said Carlisle, who is also without recalcitrant forward Ron Artest, who has been inactive since making a trade request last month.

    The Nuggets have been short-handed all year, especially in the frontcourt, and they ended 2005 a season-high three games under .500 before starting out the new year with back-to-back wins.

    David Harrison, a former University of Colorado center, started in O'Neal's place and scored six points in a performance a little bit better than last year, when he had more airballs (two) than points (one) in his only Denver appearance during his rookie season.

    Francisco Elson took an inadvertent elbow to the mouth from Harrison at the start of the second half, and blood dripped from his lips but he returned later on when guards Boykins, Watson, Andre Miller and Greg Buckner kept the pace fast.

    "We stunk," Harrison said. "We were real bad. We were real bad."

    Game notes

    Karl said he hopes G Voshon Lenard, an 11th-year pro who has fallen out of favor in Denver, gets dealt soon: "My feeling is that Vo, because he's been a good pro, deserves the opportunity to see if he can play and I don't think he's going to get that opportunity here." ... Denver F Kenyon Martin had a season-high five blocks.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 86 106
    FGM-FGA 34-85 (.400) 38-73 (.521)
    3PM-3PA 4-23 (.174) 7-15 (.467)
    FTM-FTA 14-18 (.778) 23-27 (.852)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 17-41 11-42
    Assists 21 26
    Turnovers 20 20
    Steals 12 14
    Blocks 4 7
    Fast Break Points 10 22
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (1/0) 21 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 2 23

    Top Performers

    Danny Granger Granger
    Points: 12
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 5
    Blk: 1
    Earl Boykins Boykins
    Points: 23
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0