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News » Nuggets roll on road Melo's 25 points and Denver's quick start help down the struggling Pacers. NUGGETS 111, PACERS 93

Nuggets roll on road Melo's 25 points and Denver's quick start help down the struggling Pacers. NUGGETS 111, PACERS 93

Nuggets roll on road Melo's 25 points and Denver's quick start help down the struggling Pacers. NUGGETS 111, PACERS 93 INDIANAPOLIS - Talk about misleading starts.

The Nuggets popped the seal off their six-game road trip Tuesday night by going 1-for-7 from the field. Then, they blew the doors off the Pacers.

The main events are to come on this Eastern Conference road swing, and this was every bit the tuneup that Tuesday's 111-93 final score indicated. The fans at a sparsely populated Conseco Fieldhouse watched a barrage of shots flow in from all angles, while the Pacers struggled most of the night.

"Anytime you start with a win, it snowballs the momentum," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "I think we had a good defensive feel for the game all night long."

Carmelo Anthony's scorching start stopped here. He didn't score 40 points, or even 30, but it didn't matter. Anthony was cooled considerably under defensive pressure from former Nugget Dahntay Jones, Brandon Rush and Danny Granger, who took turns guarding the star forward.

Anthony gutted through it all to shoot 6-for-17. His ability to get to the free-throw line (11-of-14) and get steals resulting in fast-break baskets offset the off night to stabilize his overall performance. He finished with 25 points.

The Pacers cut a 21-point second-quarter Nuggets lead to 12 in the third (55-43). The intensity, collisions and players' temperatures rose as the Pacers played a more physical style of ball on the defensive end.

The lead melted to nine (59-50) before the Nuggets regained some semblance of control with just over seven minutes remaining in the third. But solid defense and Chauncey Billups, who had 10 points in the period, ensured the Nuggets (4-0) kept a comfortable lead. Billups finished with 24 points.

"We had to buckle down and do the little things that got us the lead," Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin said. "The starters did a good job of focusing in on the little things that we needed to do."

The Pacers played better Basketball in the fourth quarter, but the Nuggets kept them at arm's length. Denver limited the Pacers to 39.6 percent from the field.

Somewhat surprisingly, Jones kept the Pacers in contact with his offense as well as his defense. Jones finished with 20 points, more than he scored in any game for the Nuggets last season.

"When we were thinking about trying to get Dahntay into a Pacer uniform, we thought he could be a very good guy from the standpoint of attacking offensively," Indiana coach Jim O'Brien said. "We run a lot of passing game. I don't think he had been challenged in his pro career to do everything that he can do offensively. And we think we can grow that end of his game."

Nene finished with a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo looked much more comfortable with his new team, scoring from all angles to finish with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting.

"I know how much I can help the team when I'm on top of my game," Afflalo said.

The Nuggets were a beat-up bunch by the end - Billups is day to day with a sprained left ankle but said "I'll play" tonight against New Jersey. Chris Andersen left the game in the fourth quarter with a right knee contusion, and Joey Graham also left in the fourth with a sprained right toe. Andersen is expected to play, and Graham will test his injury in tonight's pregame.

Chris Dempsey: 303-954-1279 or

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Added: November 5, 2009


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