Notebook: Pacers 107, Timberwolves 91



Posted Mar 13, 2013 10:18 PM

Conrad Brunner for NBA.com

THE FACTS: While the Indiana Pacers continue to wait on Danny Granger, they are welcoming the return of Roy Hibbert. The 7-foot-2 center continued his recent surge with a season-high 27 points on 10-for-15 shooting, adding 12 rebounds and four blocked shots as the Pacers rolled past a seriously short-handed Minnesota team 107-91 Wednesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. It was the ninth consecutive game in double figures for Hibbert, a former All-Star who struggled mightily with his shot throughout the first half of the season. Paul George battled foul trouble but scored 17 for Indiana (40-24), while George Hill added 16 with six assists. Coming off his first career triple-double in a victory over San Antonio Tuesday night, Ricky Rubio fell four rebounds shy of another, finishing with 21 points, 10 assists and six boards to lead Minnesota (22-40), which dropped its sixth in a row on the road.

QUOTABLE: "Roy Hibbert was dominating on both ends. We didn't go to him more than we usually do with them fronting the post but when you do front the post it opens up offensive rebound opportunities and he dominated in that area with nine."
-- Indiana coach Frank Vogel

THE STAT: In six games in March, Hibbert has averaged 16.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.33 blocked shots while shooting 40-for-71 (.563). He has three double-doubles in his last five games.

TURNING POINT: Despite having only nine healthy players, the Timberwolves did a nice job of hanging around much of the game and trailed just 73-66 midway through the third period. But George hit a couple of buckets, including a 3-pointer, to cap a 9-0 surge that pushed Indiana's lead to 82-66. Minnesota had one more surge, scoring 10 in a row to close to 82-76 with 9:52 remaining, but rookie Orlando Johnson scored 10 of his 12 points in the final 9:10 to help Indiana pull away.

QUOTABLE II: "When we play hard things are fun out there. Everybody's eating -- that's what we say when everybody's scoring and getting stops and stuff like that -- we relish that and we like to see our teammates succeed."
-- Roy Hibbert

HOT: George made 4-for-6 from the 3-point line. ... David West shot 6-for-8 and had 13 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for Indiana. ... Johnson shot 5-for-8. ... Rubio entered the game just 8-for-45 (.178) from the 3-point line but went 2-for-3. ... Luke Ridnour scored 17 on 8-for-15 shooting for the Timberwolves, while Dante Cunningham shot 5-for-6 and scored 12 off the bench.

NOT: Minnesota shot 15-for-43 (.349) and totaled 37 points in the second half. ... Lance Stephenson shot 2-for-11 for Indiana, while D.J. Augustin was 1-for-6.

QUOTABLE III: "We fight all the way through. We are not going to give up even if we're down seven, eight or nine points. I think their play inside hurt us a lot, especially Hibbert."
-- Ricky Rubio

NOTABLE: Granger missed his fourth consecutive game and 59th of the season due to a chronic left knee condition. He will miss at least two more games before being re-evaluated at the end of the week. ... Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, (right hand surgery) who was hoping to be cleared Wednesday to resume practice, was instead told he would have to wait at least two weeks before being re-evaluated again. He missed his 33rd game. ... Chase Budinger (knee) and has been cleared to practice and could return soon for Minnesota. ... The Timberwolves also were without Nikola Pekovic (abdominal strain) and Andrei Kirilenko (calf) but both could be back this weekend. ... Indiana reduced its magic number for clinching a playoff berth to three. ... Indiana's 35 points in the first quarter were a season high. ... Hibbert and West both recorded their 15th double-doubles. ... Indiana dominated points in the paint, 52-24. ... Johnson was the only Indiana reserve to score in the second half.

UP NEXT: Friday vs. Lakers, Saturday at Philadelphia, Monday at Cleveland. For the Timberwolves, Friday at Houston, Sunday vs. New Orleans, Monday at Memphis.