Dominant Nikola Jokic carries Nuggets past Pacers

2022-03-31 02:59
Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Credit Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Nikola Jokic put up a stellar performance as the visiting Denver Nuggets (46-31) beat the Indiana Pacers (25-52) 125-118 (43-15, 26-38, 22-38, 34-27).

Jokic finished the game with 37 points (15-19 2PT, 7/8 FT), 13 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, and 7 turnovers.

Bones Hyland scored 13 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter for Denver (46-31), which won its third game in a row. Will Barton had 18 points, DeMarcus Cousins and Monte Morris scored 11 each and Aaron Gordon added 10.

Player of the Game
Nikola  Jokic
Nikola Jokic
Points 37
Accuracy 15-19
Rebounds 13
Assists 9

Goga Bitadze had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers (25-52), who dropped their fifth consecutive game. Buddy Hield scored 20, Terry Taylor had 18 points and nine rebounds, Jalen Smith and Tyrese Haliburton scored 15 apiece, Justin Anderson finished with 13 and Keifer Sykes had 10.

Denver led 50-19 early in the second quarter, but the game was close in the first five minutes of the fourth, with neither team leading by more than two early. Indiana took a 102-100 advantage shortly after Austin Rivers was ejected, but the Nuggets responded.

Gordon and Hyland made layups and Jokic's three-point play and two free throws spurred an 11-2 run that put Denver ahead 111-104 with 4:44 remaining.

The Pacers got within five twice, but Jokic made three free throws, Gordon hit a 3-pointer and Hyland put back his own miss to make it 121-112 with 1:05 left, and the Nuggets closed it out.

Denver raced out to a big lead early, going ahead 43-15 after shooting 68 percent in the first quarter.

The Nuggets were up 60-38 before Indiana scored 15 of the last 22 points of the second quarter to trail just 69-53 at halftime.

Morris made a 3-pointer to give Denver an 81-65 lead with 7:38 left in the third quarter. Anderson then scored five quick points, Hield hit a 3-pointer, Bitadze made a layup and a 3-pointer and Taylor's reverse layup capped a 17-2 Indiana run that made it 83-82.

Jokic made a hook shot, but Haliburton's dunk and layup gave the Pacers their first lead of the night, 86-85. Indiana led 91-89 before Hyland made a layup at the horn to tie the game heading into the fourth.

Pacers: Buddy Hield 20 (5/11 3PT), Terry Taylor 18 (7/10 2PT, 9 REB), Goga Bitadze 17 (3/9 2PT, 2/5 3PT, 10 REB), Tyrese Haliburton 15 (6/11 2PT, 5 REB, 12 AST, 4 STL), Jalen Smith 15 (3/7 2PT, 2/8 3PT, 7 REB), Justin Anderson 13 (5/7 2PT, 1/6 3PT), Keifer Sykes 10.

Nuggets: Nikola Jokic 37 (15/19 2PT, 13 REB, 9 AST, 7 TO), Nah'Shon Hyland 20 (6/7 2PT, 2/7 3PT, 7 AST), Will Barton 18 (6/7 2PT, 2/6 3PT, 5 AST), Monte Morris 11 DeMarcus Cousins 11.

Nikola Jokic highlights

Full game highlights

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