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Pacers rebound after loss


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If fatigue was a factor, the Indiana Pacers hid it well.

Did they ever.

Less than 24 hours after a bitter defeat in Orlando, the Pacers returned home Monday night and earned their most lopsided win of the season, a 119-80 rout of the Denver Nuggets.

David West led a parade of six Pacers, including all five starters, in double figures with 25 points. The veteran forward scored 17 in the first quarter, setting a tone that fueled Indiana the rest of the way.

Behind West, the Pacers led 31-20 at the end of the first period and dominated the rest of the way. The Nuggets, playing without injured scoring leader Ty Lawson (fractured rib), closed to 39-30 with 7:22 left in the second quarter, then trailed by double figures until the end.

Indiana led by 30 over the course of the final 10 minutes. All 13 active players played, and, for the first time this season, all 13 scored.

In all, it helped soothe, somewhat, the sting of a 93-92 loss

the previous night at Orlando, where the Pacers squandered a double-digit lead against the team with the second-worst record in the NBA.

With Monday’s victory, the Pacers (40-11) maintain the league’s best record heading into Wednesday’s home game against Dallas, their last before the All-Star break.

“I thought we played hard and stuck to the game plan,” said West, who was 11 of 13 from the field and contributed two of the Pacers’ eight blocked shots. “We had a film session, and we just wanted to put (Sunday night) to rest. We made a lot of mistakes (Sunday), didn’t play the game the right way, and it cost us the game.

“We’re in a fight for the top spot in the (Eastern) conference, and we can’t afford to give games away like we did (Sunday).”

Their offense and defense in synch, the Pacers shot a season-high 57 percent from the field and limited Denver to 31 percent. They also enjoyed a 56-37 rebounding advantage held the Nuggets to 36 points in the paint.

By contrast, the Pacers scored 58 points in the paint, tying a season-high.

All-Star center Roy Hibbert had 14 points and game-highs of 12 rebounds and four blocks for the Pacers, who sent the Nuggets (24-26), coached by former Indiana assistant Brian Shaw, to their third straight loss.

Fellow All-Star Paul George and Lance Stephenson had 12 points each for Indiana, and George Hill had 10. Luis Scola led the bench with 11 points. He also had eight rebounds. Reserves Danny Granger, Ian Mahinmi and Rasual Butler has seven points each. Mahinmi led the backups with a season-high nine rebounds.

With the victory, the Pacers halted a five-game skid against the Nuggets and avenged a humbling 109-96 loss at Denver on Jan. 25. Indiana had lost five of the previous seven meetings, including two straight at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Wilson Chandler scored a team-high 17 points for Denver. J.J. Hickson had 12, and Jordan Hamilton contributed 11 off the bench.

Randy Foye had a game-high 10 assists for the banged-up Nuggets, who also were missing Nate Robinson (ACL sprain), Danilo Gallinari (ACL tear) and Javale McGee (tibia stress fracture).

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