Home / World News / Nuggets choke away big leads to lose to Pacers in overtime – The Denver Post

Nuggets choke away big leads to lose to Pacers in overtime – The Denver Post

INDIANAPOLIS — The Denver Nuggets put the ball in Will Barton’s hands with the game tied and time ticking down in regulation, hoping the crafty scorer would exploit his matchup against Indiana’s Bojan Bogdanovic.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone expected Barton to drive hard to the basket either to finish at the rim or perhaps draw a foul. Instead, Barton pulled up for a 19-foot step-back jumper that rimmed out, sending Sunday’s game against the Pacers into overtime.

Chalk it up as a crunch-time learning experience for Barton, who did deliver a game-winning reverse layup against Chicago less than two weeks ago. That’s a byproduct of Denver’s shorthanded roster missing injured “closers” Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap, Malone said. And of the coach being forced to play his healthy contributors hefty minutes.

The ultimate result? The Nuggets wilted down the stretch of regulation, blowing an eight-point lead with less than three minutes to play, before falling in overtime, 126-116.

“I’m still (ticked) off about that one,” said Barton, who finished with 21 points, six rebounds and nine assists in 45 minutes. “That’s one we should have had. I ain’t gonna be able to let this one go until we get on the court again.”

The Pacers (16-11) scored 20 unanswered points in the final 2:39 of regulation and overtime to erase an eight-point Nuggets (14-12) lead and then seize control in extra time.

After Victor Oladipo scored six points in a row to cut the Nuggets’ lead to 114-112, Thaddeus Young put back an Oladipo miss at the rim to tie the score with 5.5 seconds to play. After Barton missed the game-winner, Indiana rode its momentum to begin overtime with a finish inside by Myles Turner, before Oladipo connected on a finger-roll layup and one of his six 3-pointers to send the crowd into some of the loudest roars the Nuggets have experienced on the road this season.

Denver, meanwhile, started the extra period with two turnovers and missed their first seven shots to drop to 4-10 on the road and 1-3 on this six-game trip that wraps with a back-to-back set against Detroit and Boston on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“On the road, teams are gonna be more amplified,” Barton said. “They’ve got the crowd. They’ve got the energy. Once they make a run, now we gotta go to another level. We weren’t able to do that.”

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