Nuggets, Karl win second straight
INDIANAPOLIS – Kenyon Martin scored 25 points and had five steals and the Denver Nuggets won their second straight under new coach George Karl, beating the slumping Indiana Pacers 95-88 on Saturday night.It was the fourth straight loss for the Pacers and their first at home against the Nuggets in 10 years.Denver won its first game under Karl on Friday night, rallying to win in Milwaukee.
Martin injured his groin in that game and was listed as questionable for Saturday night, but helped the Nuggets get a quick start with 14 points in the first half. He also had three free throws and two baskets in the third period and added a big field goal late in the fourth quarter to end Indiana’s final push.Three-pointers by Reggie Miller, Jamaal Tinsley and Stephen Jackson had given Indiana its biggest lead at 67-62, but Martin and Carmelo Anthony each hit two free throws, then another basket by Martin put Denver back into the lead. There was one more tie before two straight baskets by Earl Boykins put the Nuggets in front for good.Denver, which twice led by 12 in the first half, matched that at 87-75 on a three-point play by Marcus Camby. Two free throws by Jermaine O’Neal brought the Pacers within 89-85, but Martin scored his final basket with 42 seconds left to make it a six-point game.
O’Neal led the Pacers with 22 points, while Miller added 15 points and Jackson and Tinsley had 14 each. Anthony finished with 15 points and Camby had 13 for the Nuggets.Denver, which shot 52 percent in its victory at Milwaukee, continued its on-target shooting against the Pacers, doing most of its early damage on back-door cuts to the basket.Seven Denver baskets in the first quarter came on dunks or layups, including an alley-oop slam by Martin that erased an early Indiana lead midway through the period.
There were three more ties before two free throws by Boykins, a fast-break layup by Martin and another basket by Martin gave the Nuggets a 25-19 lead at the end of the quarter.Indiana cut the lead to two early in the second period, but a driving layup by Nene started a 10-point Denver run that pushed the lead to 35-23. Notes: Martin hit 8-of-11 field goals and 9-of-10 free throws. … Miller’s two free throws gave him 6,057 for his career, tying him with Wilt Chamberlain for 11th-most in NBA history. … Indiana’s Anthony Johnson missed his second straight game with the flu. Jonathan Bender, who missed the past three games with a sore knee, played 13 minutes and was scoreless. Fred Jones left the game in the fourth quarter with a sore right knee. … Boykins hit all four of his free throw attempts, extending his streak to 32 in a row and 72 of the past 74. … The Nuggets’ last victory in Indianapolis was in 1995, a span of nine straight losses. … Denver finished 2-3 on its current road trip.
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