Smith misses last-second free throw in Nuggets' lossNov 28, 2007 - 6:01 AM By Blake Redabaugh PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
DENVER (Ticker) -- The Indiana Pacers figured out how to protect a large first-half lead against the Denver Nuggets - barely.
Mike Dunleavy scored 30 points and Shawne Williams added 21 as the Pacers needed J.R. Smith to miss a big free throw in the waning seconds to secure a 112-110 victory over the Nuggets on Tuesday night.
Jamaal Tinsley had 15 points and 11 assists for Indiana, which improved to 3-1 without All-Star forward Jermaine O'Neal, who missed his fourth straight game due to a swollen left knee.
On November 10, Carmelo Anthony scored 32 points as the Nuggets erased a 25-point first-half deficit and knocked off the Pacers, 113-106, at Conseco Fieldhouse. They almost orchestrated another comeback in this one thanks to mental mistakes by the Pacers.
Leading, 110-108, with 11 seconds left, Indiana iced its own player at the free-throw line. Williams made his first free throw before the Pacers called timeout, causing the forward to miss the second as it remained a three-point game.
On the ensuing possession, Dunleavy fouled Smith behind the arc but the Nuggets guard made the first two free throws and missed the third with 2.7 seconds remaining.
"I knew he was going to miss one of those," Dunleavy said. "It was disappointing that it even got to that point."
"I would like to go on record for saying that the 3-point foul at the end of the game was not a foul," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "If anything, it was an offensive foul on J.R. Smith."
Williams then made just 1-of-2 free throws to make it 112-110 before Anthony's desperation heave at the buzzer fell short.
Indiana took control of the game with a 14-0 run that bridged the third and fourth periods. Dunleavy's bank shot with 8:49 remaining in the game capped the spurt and gave the Pacers a 90-83 lead.
"Tonight, they seemed to have more energy than we did at the end of the game," Nuggets head coach George Karl said. "They won the game probably because of that."
"We played the game with a lot of guts," O'Brien said. "It was a game of runs, and we had one more run than they did."
In the first quarter, the Pacers connected on seven of their first nine shots and raced out to a 15-0 lead. Danny Granger scored seven points and hit all three of his shots, including a 3-pointer, during the run.
Indiana built the lead up to 21-3 before Denver responded with a 22-6 run to cut its deficit to 31-25 at the end of the first quarter. Eduardo Najera hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Nuggets their first lead of the game with 3:44 remaining in the second quarter.
The two teams played a wild third quarter, which saw leads of 12 by the Pacers and seven by the Nuggets.
"It is frustrating because we got behind by so much," Nuggets guard Allen Iverson said. "In the beginning of the game, we had to use up so much energy to get back into the game."
Anthony Carter, playing in only his third game of the season after being sidelined with a fractured right hand, collected 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists for Denver.
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