"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
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.
"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
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
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