INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- The Indiana Pacers came away with a 107-103 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday night. Indiana has played some great basketball after starting the season with an 0-3 record. The Pacers have now won six of their last seven games. This has pushed the Pacers overall record to 6-4 and their home record to 4-2. This performance was done without the Pacers top two bench players as Myles Turner and Rodney Stuckey were injured and didn't play in this game.
It was a close affair between the two teams in the opening quarter. Both teams traded small leads, in fact, the Timberwolves were the first to team to even have a lead of at least five points, which happened at the 1:19 mark. There were three lead changes and two ties. Minnesota held a 27-24 lead over Indiana at the end of the first quarter. The Pacers appeared to be in for another tight game at this point.
The second quarter appeared to be another tightly contested duel. Well, it was for the first six minutes, but the Pacers started to take matters into their own hands. The Pacers were down 41-38 with 6:13 left in the second quarter, but the Pacers then outscored the Timberwolves 23-10 to close the quarter. Indiana led for the rest of the quarter and held the largest lead of the game up until this point. The Pacers led 61-50 at the half.
Indiana continued their momentum in the third quarter. It was quite simple, the Pacers outscored the Timberwolves 26-10 from the start of the third quarter up until the four minute mark of the quarter. Indiana led 87-60 at this point of the game, but Minnesota went on a run of their own to reduce the Pacers lead by 10 points, to be exact, the Timberwolves went on a 13-3 run to close the quarter. The Pacers were up 90-73 with one quarter to go.
The fourth quarter was basically one massive Timberwolves run. Minnesota narrowed the Pacers lead to 10 points (94-84) with 7:05 left in the game. It didn't stop there, the Timberwolves kept on coming for the Pacers lead. The Timberwolves cut the Pacers lead to one point (101-100) with 55 seconds remaining in the game. Indiana held on with a mini-run of their own to close the game, they went on a 7-3 run to win the game by a score of 107-103. The Pacers survived a roaring attempt by the Timberwolves.
The Pacers continued to get quality play from their superstar Paul George. He had 29 points (8-17 FGM-A, 4-6 3PM-A, 9-10 FTM-A), nine rebounds and four assists. He gave Indiana another all-around performance as he rebounded and found his teammates effectively, while playing very good defense. This is what makes Paul George an all-around superstar, he does it all. George is still just one man though, but he did get the help that he needed.
Monta Ellis stepped up in a big way in tonight's game. Ellis recorded 24 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the field, while adding five assists and two steals. Just like Paul George, Ellis gave the Pacers an all-around performance. He has struggled so far this season, but this perhaps could be the game that he comes alive. Ellis has a reputation of being a bad defender, but he got a game saving block to seal the win for the Pacers. Indiana has really brought out the best in Ellis.
C.J. Miles left the second quarter with a possible concussion after a head to head collision. Miles struggled with his jump shot and his overall defense, but he did make some big plays on both sides of the ball. Miles would finish the game with eight points.
George Hill had some trouble with his jump shot as well. He only mustered six points (2-of-7 from the field), but he contributed in other ways with four assists and two steals. Unlike Hill, Ian Mahinmi had a great game. He put together a near double-double with 12 points (6-of-11 shooting from the field) and nine rebounds. Mahinmi really struggled to shoot from the free throw line, but what else is new? Mahinmi finished in the paint effectively, played quality defense overall, and he rebounded the basketball well. It was a great overall game by Mahinmi.
With Rodney Stuckey and Myles Turner out, the bench needed to step up to fill their void. Lavoy Allen, Glenn Robinson III, Chase Budinger, and Jordan Hill were the bench players that received minutes in this game. As a collective unit, the bench recorded 28 points (11-of-24 shooting from the field) 18 rebounds, eight assists, three steals and two blocks.
The Pacers had a quality overall performance. What put them over the top was their advantage in fast break points (24) and their ability to score 17 points off of Minnesota's 16 turnovers. Indiana also had a good night shooting from three as they went 10-of-25 compared to 7-of-20 from Minnesota. This was a quality overall performance by the Pacers.
Minnesota and Indiana both had 50 paint points and the Timberwolves actually shot better from the field, 50.6 percent compared to 47.7 percent. But in the end the turnover margin was too much for the Timberwolves to overcome.
The Indiana Pacers play the Chicago Bulls for their next game. That game is on November 16 at 8:00 P.M. EST.