Friday, October 12 at 7:00 PM at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind (Preseason): IND 96, MIN 91
by Mark Montieth
With three starters – Roy Hibbert, George Hill and Danny Granger – sitting out, the Pacers jumped to a 13-4 lead. They never trailed in the first quarter, but Minnesota opened the second period with a 13-2 run to take a 10-point lead. It led by as many as 12 points, and by 11 at halftime, as the Pacers hit just 6-of-22 shots in the quarter. Ben Hansbrough was the only first-year player to look comfortable, scoring five points and grabbing three rebounds in seven minutes.
An early Pacer run in the third period forced a tie, as Manhimi scored three straight field goals on layups and dunks, but Minnesota quickly regained the lead and took a 70-63 lead into the fourth quarter.
A lineup of Hansbrough, Miles Plumlee, Sam Young, Gerald Green and Jeff Pendergraph led a charge that overwhelmed the Timberwolves. Hansbrough opened the quarter with a three-pointer, and a 19-0 run later in the period took the Pacers from a 75-68 deficit to an 87-75 lead.
Minnesota got back within 90-87, but Manhimi's free throws off an offensive rebound and George's pull-up jumper returned momentum to the Pacers. Their scoring ended with an appropriate flourish, as Hansbrough threw a lob pass to Gerald Green on an inbound pass for a dunk that ignited the fans with 23.8 seconds left.
Inside the Numbers
Paul George was assertive and finished with a team-high 19 points. He scored eight in the first quarter, including six of the Pacers' first 11 points. He added six rebounds and two steals.
Green had 18 points, six rebounds, four assists and the highlight that sent everyone home happy. He was regarded as a starting-caliber wing player when he was acquired, and backed up that reputation.
Manhimi had 17 points and eight rebounds. Five of his rebounds came at the offensive end, as he was aggressive going after missed shots.
First-round draft pick Miles Plumlee appeared nervous early, bobbling the first couple of passes that came his way, but settled down to finish with nine points. He hit a few mid-range jumpers, the apparent benefit of his work with shooting coach Billy Keller.
The team stats were comparable in all areas but turnovers. The Timberwolves committed 18, and the Pacers 12.
D.J. Augustin started in place of Hill. He had just three points on 1-of-5 shooting, but had five assists. He split time with Hansbrough at point guard.
Former Pacer Lou Amundson played 24 minutes off the bench for Minnesota, and finished with 10 points and three rebounds.
"I'm just playing smart. This year I'm willing to make mistakes to get better, as opposed to last year when I was hesitant to make mistakes." – Paul George
"They ain't seen nothing yet. That's all I can say." — Paul George, on the fans' reaction to Gerald Green's athleticism.
"I definitely feel like I"m getting more comfortable. It's a new system for me. Tonight I felt we found a good rhythm and looked for each other." – Ian Manhimi
"Playing with Dirk for two years, he's more the focus of the system, but I love the new system. I love what Coach Vogel is trying to do. Everybody's involved at all times." – Manhimi, on his enhanced role in the offense.
"He does everything pretty well, no real weaknesses to his game. He has very high character. He's a likeable guy and he has championship experience. Obviously, we made some changes to the bench and we're hopeful it's an upgrade. Tonight left us optimistic about that." — Coach Vogel
Stat of the Game
Ben Hansbrough had five points, six assists and a steal without a turnover in the fourth quarter, leading a comeback from a 70-63 deficit.
Analysis: Hansbrough Making Most of Opportunity »
Hill sat out with a sore left thumb, which was taped up. The injury occurred when he was hit in practice ... Granger continued to sit to rest his sore left knee … Hibbert sat out to allow Manhimi and Plumlee more playing time … Ben's older brother Tyler did not play to allow Jeff Pendergraph to play. Tyler will get the backup minutes next Tuesday against Atlanta … Manhimi wore an Italian custom-tailored gray suit with white checks, accented by orange socks. "I like to be original," he said … Attendance was listed at 10,794 … Derrick Williams, Minnesota's first-round pick in 2011, scored a game-high 25 points and added six rebounds, three steals and a blocked shot. He averaged 8.8 points last season … The new Bankers Life scoreboard was utilized, but not fully. A smaller replay screen was used within. All 50x21 feet of it will debut on Opening Night against Sacramento on Nov. 3.
The Pacers next game is at home against the Hawks on Tuesday, October 16th at 7:00 ( Buy Tickets » ). The Pacers open the regular season Oct. 31st in Toronto, with the first home game being Saturday, November 3rd against the Sacramento Kings (General Public on-sale Wednesday, October 17).