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Nuggets 109, Pacers 96

The SportsXchange

DENVER -- Forward Wilson Chandler scored a season-high 25 points, J.J. Hickson had 14 points and 13 rebounds and the Denver Nuggets beat the Indiana Pacers 109-96 on Saturday night.

Guard Ty Lawson had 12 points and 10 assists for the Nuggets.

Guard Lance Stephenson led the Pacers with 23 points and 10 rebounds and forward Paul George had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Indiana.

The Pacers have been the best team in the league this season, but their one weakness has been the second of back-to-back games. Six of their league-low nine losses have come in those games, including Saturday.

Denver has played well against the NBA elite, although it hasn't always translated into victories. The Nuggets led in Portland for most of Thursday night's game before the Trail Blazers rallied to win it.

They didn't let it happen Saturday, surviving a second-half rally by Indiana. After the Pacers trailed by 19 at halftime, they had several chances to cut the lead to four in the fourth quarter, but Denver's defense rose up each time.

After Indiana forward David West missed two jumpers in the lane, Lawson hit a driving layup to push the lead to nine.

Indiana couldn't find its offense in the first half but got it back in the third quarter. The Pacers, who scored just 36 points in the first 24 minutes, had 40 in the third to make it a fourth-quarter game. They were 15 of 25 from the field in the quarter and cut a 19-point deficit to six.

The Nuggets led by 10 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Pacers looked a step slow in the first half. They went nearly four minutes without a point at the start of the second quarter, and that allowed Denver to take control.

Nuggets guard Nate Robinson hit two 3-pointers and scored eight of his 13 first-half points to highlight an 11-0 run to start the quarter, giving Denver a 33-18 lead. He finished with 15 points.

Denver closed the second quarter on an 11-2 run to lead 55-36 at halftime.

NOTES: The Pacers are the only NBA team with fewer than 10 losses. ... The Nuggets honored former team president and general manager Carl Scheer before the game and at halftime. Scheer was a key player in the ABA-NBA merger in 1976 and was a pioneer in the dunk contest that is a featured part of NBA All-Star Weekend. Scheer led the Nuggets in their early years in the NBA when they reached the playoffs in eight of the 10 seasons he was at the helm. ... Indiana G Lance Stephenson leads the NBA in triple-doubles this season with three. ... Denver F Darrell Arthur missed his sixth straight game with a left hip strain.

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