for this game

Jack, Murphy help Pacers sink Nuggets

Mar 2, 2009 - 4:11 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Any momentum the Denver Nuggets thought they gained from a win over the Western Conference's best disappeared Sunday in a loss to an also-ran in the East.

Jarrett Jack scored 28 points and Troy Murphy had a big night with 22 and 18 rebounds to help the Indiana Pacers record a 100-94 victory over the Nuggets.

Marquis Daniels added 19 points for the Pacers, who outscored the Nuggets, 32-19, in the fourth quarter en route to the win.

On the outside looking in when it comes to the Eastern Conference playoff picture, Indiana now has defeated five of the NBA's six division winners, with San Antonio being the only team it has not beaten.

"When you play against those top-notch teams, you're pumped up," Jack said. "I think you want to step up and make that challenge."

Chauncey Billups dropped 27 points while Carmelo Anthony contributed 20 for Denver, which was unable to build off Friday's 90-79 win against the Los Angeles Lakers.

"We were just a little out of sync," Billups said. "It's a little disappointing that we worked hard the other night on defense and tonight we weren't as aggressive as we thought we should have been."

After a slow start, Denver appeared to take control in the third, outscoring Indiana, 34-23, out of the locker rooms behind 11 points from Anthony. He scored just four points in the first half.

The Nuggets had been 31-1 when leading after the three quarters, but the Pacers turned the tables in the fourth and handed them their fourth lost in their last six games.

"We stayed in the game, we didn't let the score dictate how we played the next possession," Jack said. "No matter what the score was, we stuck with the gameplan, and that was the thing that got us back into the game and eventually brought us to the win."

Using a 20-8 spurt late in the final period, the Pacers snapped a four-game losing streak at home against the Nuggets while beating them for just the second time in 10 tries.

"They never quit," Denver coach George Karl said. "They were playing well at home and they got three or four bounces in a row. Indiana, for some reason, always finds a way to win in this building."

Following Anthony's layup that cut the lead to 94-88, Jack sank a clutch 3-pointer with two seconds left on the shot clock and just 1:38 left in the game to give Indiana its biggest lead of the game at nine.

"He's been huge, especially with all the injuries we've had," Murphy said of Jack. "He's a guy who's able to step in and play multiple positions, he gets the ball to the basket, he makes big assists and plays tough defense. He's been great for us all year."

Murphy continued his torrid stretch, posting double figures in both points and rebounds for the seventh straight game to fill the void left by leading scorer Danny Granger. The All-Star missed his sixth straight game with a torn tendon in his right foot, though Indiana improved to 4-2 without him in that span.

"That was a hard-fought win," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "That's a physical basketball team. It was a terrific gut-check win for our team."