Karl’s halftime speech motivates Nuggets to 113-106 win over Pacers

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP)—Denver Nuggets coach George Karl wouldn’t reveal the contents of his motivational halftime speech on Saturday night.

“I don’t know if most of it is printable,” he said.

Whatever he said appeared to have the desired effect, though. The Nuggets, who trailed by 25 points in the first half, used Carmelo Anthony’s 32 points and 10 rebounds to pull out a 113-106 victory over the stunned Indiana Pacers.

Denver shot 41 percent from the field and committed 13 turnovers before the break, leading to Karl’s unpleasant lecture.

“He cursed us out,” Anthony said.

The Nuggets (4-3) outscored Indiana 57-32 in the second half to win their second straight game following three losses.

“The one thing as a player you want to find out is the type of character you have on your team,” said Denver guard Allen Iverson, who finished with 27 points and 10 assists. “When you get in situations like that, you can learn a lot about the players on your team.”

Troy Murphy had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Mike Dunleavy scored 17 and Jermaine O’Neal added 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Pacers (3-3), who lost their seventh consecutive game to the Nuggets.

“In the second half, we made bad decisions and took bad shots,” said Indiana forward Danny Granger, who scored 13 points. “We have to figure out a way to close out games.”

Denver chipped away at the deficit in the second half, getting within 93-92 following Marcus Camby’s jumper with 8:23 left in the fourth quarter. The Nuggets took their first lead, 95-94, since early in the first quarter on Iverson’s 3-pointer.

Indiana regained a 101-97 advantage after O’Neal’s dunk and free throw with less than 4 minutes left, but the Nuggets reeled off the next 12 points, capped by Iverson’s 3, to secure the win.

“We just kept fighting,” Anthony said. “If this isn’t a confidence-booster, I don’t know what is.”

Denver’s Linas Kleiza scored 12 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter to help complete the comeback. His two free throws gave the Nuggets a 104-101 lead with 1:18 remaining.

“He knocked down some big shots,” Anthony said.

The Pacers raced out to a 21-12 lead in the first quarter following Dunleavy’s layup. They extended the advantage to 46-31 on Murphy’s two free throws to end the period.

Indiana scored the first eight points, including six by O’Neal, of the second quarter to open a 23-point lead. Denver’s first point of the period came on Anthony’s free throw with 7:25 left in the half.

Indiana took its biggest lead, 63-38, on Dunleavy’s free throw two minutes later.

“A story of two halves,” Pacers coach Jim O’Brien said. “I knew they would come back because they have two of the greatest players in the world.”

Denver began the third quarter on a 10-0 run, which included three straight 3-pointers from Yakhouba Diawara, to cut the deficit to 74-66. The Nuggets got as close as 85-80 later in the period following a 9-0 spurt.

“I think (Diawara) gave us a big boost in the second half,” Iverson said. “He gave us some momentum, and then we rode the wave off of him.”

Notes

Pacers C David Harrison received a technical foul for arguing a call in the second quarter. … Indiana’s 74 points in the first half was a season high. … The Pacers have lost three in a row after starting the season 3-0. … Nuggets F-C Nene missed the game with a torn ligament in his left thumb. He’s expected to miss six weeks. … Pacers F Ike Diogu didn’t play with a torn left calf muscle. … Denver snapped a three-game losing streak with a win at Washington on Friday. … The Nuggets completed a four-game road trip, finishing 2-2.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Denver
C. Anthony C. Anthony
10-23,  32 Pts
10 Rebs, 5 Assists
 Indiana
T. Murphy T. Murphy
5-10,  18 Pts
10 Rebs, 3 Assists

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Rebounds
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Saturday, Nov 10