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New lineup, same result for Pacers
By Conrad Brunner
History was made on a night the Pacers would just as soon forget.
Playing on a gimpy left knee that made his status for the game iffy, Kevin Love not only played, he set an NBA record with his 52nd consecutive double-double with 16 points and 21 rebounds as the Minnesota Timberwolves routed the Pacers 101-75 Wednesday before 15,153 in Target Center.
Hoping to shake the team out of its recent funk, interim coach Frank Vogel shuffled the lineup, promoting Tyler Hansbrough and Paul George in place of Josh McRoberts and Brandon Rush, but the Pacers continued to struggle.
Hansbrough was the lone bright spot for Indiana, scoring a game-high 21 with 10 rebounds.
The Pacers dropped their fifth in a row to fall to 27-37 overall, 10-22 on the road and 10-10 under Vogel. They remain one game ahead of ninth-place Charlotte in the East with 10th-place Milwaukee now just 1 games back. Minnesota snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 16-50 overall, 11-23 at home.
- "Clearly we're struggling on the offensive end. We're struggling as a basketball team. We will work until we come out of it, and we will come out of it." Vogel
- "We've just got to figure out a way to get back into a groove. Sometimes you're going to have your lows in the NBA, you're going to have your highs. But we've got to figure it out." Pacers guard Darren Collison
- "I just think we're going through a struggle right now. It's no secret, we're kind of struggling, but I think everybody in the locker room wants to win so we'll try to figure this out and get back at it." Hansbrough
- "Some of it, you like to give our defense credit but I just think he missed some shots too that he normally makes. It was probably a combination of both." Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis on Danny Granger's rough night
- "I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get up and down the floor. But I think I made the right choice to come out and play. Not only did I get that (double-double), but more importantly we got the win." Love
STAT OF THE GAME
Hansbrough's 21 points came on 6-of-12 shooting. The Pacers' other four starters combined to score 21 points on 5-of-38 shooting (13.2 percent).
Unlike three of their four previous losses in this skid, the Pacers did lead at one point 6-4 in the opening minutes. They proceeded to miss 14 consecutive shots over a span of nearly 10 minutes as the Timberwolves put together an 18-3 run to take a 22-9 lead that once again had Indiana on its heels early in the game.
Though they only shot 25 percent in the first half, the Pacers managed to cut the lead to a manageable 50-40 at the break, putting themselves in position to turn things around with a strong second half.
Instead, things only got worse.
Minnesota scored the first 10 points of the third quarter on its way to a game-clinching 23-7 run, pushing the lead to 73-47 as the Pacers missed 11-of-13 shots and committed six turnovers.
BY THE NUMBERS
In perhaps the worst shooting night of his career, Danny Granger shot 2-of-19 overall and 0-of-9 from the 3-point line, managing 10 points. Hansbrough continued his solid productivity of late with his seventh straight game of double-figures scoring and his fifth double-double of the season. A.J. Price scored 13 on 4-of-10 shooting off the bench.
The Pacers needed a late flurry to push their field goal percentage to .296. They were 4-of-23 from the arc (.174), were outrebounded 66-46, had just seven assists and committed 17 turnovers.
Love struggled with his shot, going 4-of-10 from the field and just 8-of-15 from the line but still surpassed Moses Malone's previous mark of 51 consecutive double-doubles for Houston set in the 1978-79 season. Michael Beasley scored 16 with eight rebounds, Anthony Tolliver and Anthony Randolph had 14 apiece off the bench, and Luke Ridnour scored 13.
The Wolves won despite shooting just .385 overall and .278 (5-of-18) from the 3-point line. They enjoyed advantages of 38-24 on points in the paint and 24-9 on second-chance points.
- In the five-game losing streak, Granger has averaged 13.6 points, shot 19-of-69 (.275) overall and 3-of-21 (.143) from the arc.
- Granger has gone three straight games without a 3-pointer (missing all 13 attempts) for the first time since Nov. 7-10, 2007.
- Granger also snapped his streak of 43 consecutive made free throws by missing his first attempt of the game in the second quarter.
- Roy Hibbert missed all six of his shots and was scoreless for the first time this season.
- McRoberts played just five minutes off the bench before sitting the rest of the game with a sore right knee.
- In his first career start, George played 24 minutes, scored eight points with four rebounds and three steals but shut 2-of-8.
- Jeff Foster missed his second consecutive game with a sore back.
- The Pacers fell behind by double digits in the first quarter for the eighth time in their last nine losses.
The Pacers continue their three-game trip Friday in Toronto (7 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM).