O’Neal Leads Pacers to Third Straight Win
Indiana 89, Minnesota 77
INDIANAPOLIS, April 14 (Ticker) -- Jermaine O'Neal and the Indiana Pacers inched closer to a playoff berth.
O'Neal scored 29 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as the Pacers posted a 89-77 triumph over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
"It's a sense of urgency," Jackson said. "We understand what's at stake and don't want the season to end."
Indiana seized control of the contest with a 17-7 spurt to bridge the final two quarters for a 75-64 advantage 30 seconds into the closing period.
O'Neal scored 10 of the Pacers' final 12 points to maintain a double-digit lead and secure their third straight victory.
"It's important to be playing well and we played better the last three games," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. "If we hadn't won three straight games, we could easily be out of the playoff picture."
Pacers sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic left the game in the third quarter after suffering a right wrist injury. He finished with 11 points and six boards.
"We have to be focused on ourselves, but we can't ignore the other teams," Stojakovic said. "If we take care of our business, we should be OK. We're playing better, but we can still improve."
Eddie Griffin collected 18 points and 12 rebounds and Marcus Banks added 15 for Minnesota (33-47), which has lost 15 of its last 16 road games.
Minnesota was without All-Star Kevin Garnett, who missed his fourth straight game with a knee and groin injury.