Published: February 10, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS - David West scored 25 points and Roy Hibbert added 14 as the Indiana Pacers routed the short-handed Denver Nuggets 119-80 on Monday night.
Indiana snapped a five-game skid in the series, beating the Nuggets for the first time since a 31-point blowout in November 2010. The Pacers (40-11) still have the NBA's best record, the league's best home record (25-2) and now lead two-time defending champion Miami by four games in the Eastern Conference.
Wilson Chandler scored 17 points and J.J. Hickson added 12 to lead the Nuggets (24-26), who have lost three straight and played without several players, including Andre Miller, Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee, Nate Robinson and Ty Lawson.
After the first six minutes, this game was never close.
The Pacers took control with a 21-5 run that made it 37-20 early in the second quarter. Then, they closed the half on a 14-4 spurt to make it 61-40, and the Nuggets couldn't get closer than 19 in the second half.
Indiana, which lost Sunday at Orlando, hasn't lost back-to-back games since mid-December and hasn't lost three straight all season. The Pacers finished this one with a season-high points total and a season-best shooting percentage (57.5).
Denver was nowhere near full strength, though, and it showed.
Again the Nuggets played without Miller, who has been held out since early January; Gallinari, who is out for the season with a torn ACL; McGee, who has been out since late January with a stress fracture; and on Monday, they were missing backup point guard Robinson (left knee) and top scorer and point guard Lawson (fractured rib).
Coach Brian Shaw's biggest concern befire the game was finding a replacement for his only two point guards and defending Paul George, who Shaw dubbed the best two-way player in the NBA. George had 12 points, five rebounds and four assists.
West finished 11 of 13 from the field and had 21 points in the first half. Hibbert had 12 rebounds and the Pacers won both key battles in the paint - outrebounding Denver 56-37 and outscoring them 58-36.
The Pacers led 31-20 after one quarter, 61-40 at the half and 85-56 after three. Coach Frank Vogel rested his starters the entire fourth quarter.
The Nuggets finished with a season-low shooting percentage (31.5) and suffered their most lopsided loss of the season - the second time that's happened in three days. Denver's previous lows came in a 117-90 loss Friday at New York and a 36.4 percent performance Dec. 21 at the Clippers.