Tight-knit Nuggets continue road-heavy stretch at Pacers

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The Denver Nuggets are finding out how to bond early in the season. With a majority of their games on the road, the Nuggets have spent a lot of time together on planes and in hotels.

It hasn’t hurt them in the standings.

Denver is riding a three-game winning streak, including a win at San Antonio Monday night to kick off a four-game trip that continues at the Indiana Pacers Wednesday night in Indianapolis.

The Nuggets overcame 22 total turnovers in the win over the Spurs with keys plays from Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic.

Murray has ramped up his playing time after missing all of last season while recovering from left ACL surgery. He had two crucial assists in the fourth quarter to hold off a San Antonio rally. One was a threaded assist to Aaron Gordon for a dunk and another one to Jokic for an easy basket.

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It was a reminder of how effective the two-man game between Murray and Jokic can be.

“I love Jamal,” Denver coach Michael Malone said. “I love everything he’s about. Him and Nikola are just like peanut butter and jelly.”

The Nuggets currently lead the NBA in 3-point shooting at 41.9 percent, and a large part of that comes from the play of Michael Porter Jr., who is hitting 49.3 percent from behind the arc. The sharpshooter has played better defense this season, but he was on the bench during crunch time Monday night.

Porter wasn’t upset that he wasn’t in the game.

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“Even though I want to be on the floor, it’s whatever coach thinks gives us the best chance to win,” Porter said.

Denver will face a Pacers team that’s on a two-game winning streak and has won four of its last five. Myles Turner was the catalyst in a 129-122 win over New Orleans on Monday night with 37 points and 12 rebounds.

Turner missed the first four games with an ankle injury but has found his groove.

“My biggest thing is just trying to stay healthy and keep my rhythm going,” Turner said. “It was a great individual performance, great team performance. All eyes forward.”

Turner’s production might be needed even more with guard Chris Duarte expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a sprained left ankle suffered Friday night.

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Turner knows what he needs to do to help the team.

“Just running the floor, I think that’s big for me,” Turner said. “When I get out there in transition, I know I’m quicker and faster than a lot of these bigs. When I get out there, even if I don’t get the ball, someone on the perimeter is going to get the ball because they’ve got to tag or force help. If I can get myself, my motor going early, everything else feels easier.”

It’ll be a challenge to stop a Nuggets team that is healthier than it has been in the last two years.

–Field Level Media

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