The Denver Nuggets traveled for their fourth road game on the five-game trip to face the Indiana Pacers, ultimately winning 114-109 after a dagger three by Nikola Jokic with just over four seconds remaining.

Jamal Murray had a strong performance, as did Jokic, with the two-man game carrying Denver for much of the game. The Nuggets went back to their bread and butter tonight with much of the team struggling to stay efficient, and both Murray and Jokic obliged with great performances. It was the two-man game that yielded the three for Jokic with the Pacers trapping Murray on the right side of the floor.

Myles Turner clearly expected rookie Ben Sheppard to rotate over and take Jokic at the top of the key, but Sheppard stunted away from Jokic, who waltzed into an open three-pointer to ice the game.

Jokic shot 3-of-4 from three on the evening and even had the first triple-double of his career against the Pacers, producing 31 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists. Turner made him work in the post and was very physical, but Jokic ultimately got the last laugh, creating open shots for himself and others throughout the evening at an impressive clip.

Murray began the game for the Nuggets with 20 points in the first half, keeping Denver in it while they weren’t playing their best basketball. The veteran point guard navigated pesky and physical defense from the Pacers from Aaron Nesmith, Andrew Nembhard, and TJ McConnell, using screens from Jokic and DeAndre Jordan to provide separation and hit an impressive array of shots.

Murray finished the game with 31 points of his own on 11-of-24 shooting to go with eight rebounds and seven assists. It was an impressive performance that goes beyond the actual efficiency, because the pressure placed on Jokic and Murray to perform tonight was incredibly high, and they still got the job done.

 The only other two Nuggets to finish in double figures were Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Reggie Jackson. KCP in particular was effective in the third quarter when the Nuggets were going on their big run of the game, hitting back-to-back three-pointers and flipping the momentum of the game with his two-way play. Jackson had 13 points on 6-of-11 from the field, doing most of his work inside the arc and creating shots out of pick and roll and isolation. They picked up the slack for Michael Porter Jr. and Aaron Gordon, who simply didn’t have it tonight scoring wise.

The Pacers recently acquired Toronto Raptors power forward Pascal Siakam in a big trade, sending former Nuggets wing Bruce Brown up north after signing Brown to a two-year contract this offseason. Siakam is still adjusting to life with the Pacers, but he had a strong game tonight, putting up 16 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists in just his third game with the franchise. Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle is also going to great lengths to win over his newest star player, getting in a referee’s face after a no-call on a Siakam drive and getting himself ejected.

Tyrese Haliburton was out tonight, so starting in his place was second year guard Andrew Nembhard, a strong pick and roll creator and defender in his own right. Nembhard stepped up and played a strong game against the Nuggets on both ends, making Porter’s life more difficult on offense. He and McConnell kept the Pacers in this one as Siakam and Myles Turner both shot under 50% from the field.

Ultimately, this is a great win from Denver, responding to the physicality and intensity brought to the game by the Pacers perimeter defenders. They took Denver out of rhythm in the fourth quarter, and the Nuggets had to respond with some buckets and defense of their own. Jokic was central to that, and the Nuggets ultimately survived to win their third straight game on the road.

The Nuggets will play the New York Knicks on Thursday at Madison Square Garden to wrap up the five-game trip.

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