Pacers look playoff-ready in thumping Nuggets by 36

Reuters

Bojan Bogdanovic exploded for 35 points while teammates Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis recorded double-doubles Sunday as the host Indiana Pacers avenged a loss to the Denver Nuggets last week with a 124-88 romp in a duel of teams battling for NBA playoff positioning.

The win allowed the Pacers (45-29), coming off a four-game road losing streak that included a 102-100 defeat in Denver on March 16, to solidify their standing as the No. 4 team in the Eastern Conference with just eight games remaining.

Indiana still has two games on the schedule against current No. 5 seed Boston, one at each site.

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Meanwhile, the Nuggets (49-23) failed in their quest to win a 50th game as they challenge Golden State for the top spot in the West.

Those two teams meet one final time in the regular season at Golden State on April 2.

As opposed to the previous meeting, which was tied until the Nuggets' Paul Millsap made a layup with seven seconds remaining, the Pacers took charge of the rematch early, expanding a 27-23 lead after one quarter to as many as 17 points in the second period.

The second half was never close.

Bogdanovic shot 13 for 16 overall and 5 for 6 on 3-pointers en route to the third-most points of his career and the second-most this season. He had 37 against Minnesota last month.

Turner finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Sabonis collected 15 points and a game-high 13 rebounds as the Pacers allowed their second-fewest points this season.

They held Memphis to 83 on opening night.

It was the 27th time this season Indiana held its opponent under 100 points, the seventh time under 90. The Pacers are 7-0 in the latter games.

Aaron Holiday and Tyreke Evans added 11 points apiece for Indiana, which shot 56 percent overall and 44.4 percent on 3-pointers.

Nikola Jokic flirted with a triple-double in his 30 minutes with 19 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for Denver. He also had four blocks.

Will Barton (15 points), Monte Morris (12) and Gary Harris (11) also scored in double figures for the Nuggets, who were limited to 35.5 percent shooting overall and connected on just seven of their 29 3-pointers.

The 88-point total was Denver's fifth-lowest of the season, while the 36-point margin of defeat was its largest, surpassing the 31-point thumping the Nuggets took against Golden State in January.

--Field Level Media

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