Wednesday, March 13th, 2013 at 7:00 PM EST at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: IND 107, MIN 91
The Pacers must have been hungry. According to center Roy Hibbert, who scored a season-high 27 points and recorded a double-double with 12 rebounds, everybody was “eating” – meaning scoring and getting stops – in the Pacers’ 107-91 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday. The Pacers led by as many as 19 and never fell behind.
Offense came early and often in the first quarter, which featured a combined 63 points. The Pacers (40-24) hopped out to a 10-0 lead, a lead they maintained for most of the quarter, and connected on 71 percent of their shots attempted. After one, the Pacers had a 35-28 advantage with 16 of their points scored in the paint.
With less than five minutes to play in the second, the Timberwolves (22-40) used an 11-3 run to get with one, 48-47, and two minutes later, tied the game up at 54. The Pacers scored the final eight points in the half for a 62-54 lead at the break. Roy Hibbert had his way inside, amassing 17 points and seven rebounds in 17 minutes of play.
The Pacers added to their lead late in the third, going on a 9-0 run. After the quarter ended, David West was visibly upset, knowing they missed a great opportunity to put the game away while the Timberwolves went more than five minutes without a bucket. The Pacers’ lead was 13 entering the fourth.
Frank Vogel was forced to call timeout less than three minutes into the final period after the Timberwolves ran off seven points in a row, which trimmed the Pacers’ lead to six. Out of the timeout, Hibbert ended the Timberwolves’ run with a bucket, and then Orlando Johnson and George Hill hit back-to-back three-pointers – putting them in front by 12.
Paul George – assigned with guarding Ricky Rubio – dealt with foul trouble all game. He collected two fouls in the first two and a half minutes. George received his fifth with 8:44 left in the game, where he remained seated for the rest of the game as his teammates handled their business on the floor.
The Pacers feasted in the paint, scoring 52 points to the Timberwolves’ 24, and they held the visitors to 34 percent shooting in the second half.
Inside the Numbers
Indiana’s front-court had their way with Minnesota. They scored 26 second-chance points off of 15 offensive rebounds and won the battle of the boards by 13. Both Hibbert (27 points, 12 rebounds) and David West (13 points, 10 rebounds) recorded their 15th double-double this season.
George Hill finished with 16 points, six assists, five rebounds and one turnover. Rookie guard Orlando Johnson had 12 points off the bench, just his second time in double figures.
Coming off his first career triple-double in a win over the Spurs, Ricky Rubio was just four rebounds short of another one. He tied his season-high with 21 points and 10 dimes. Luke Ridnour added 17.
The Pacers won their 40th game of the season. They improved to 15-3 when scoring at least 100 points, 7-1 when shooting at least 50 percent and 5-0 when Hibbert leads the team in scoring.
Indiana’s 35 points in the opening period were its most in any first quarter this season.
Three is the magic number for the Pacers to clinch a playoff spot. Any combination of Indiana wins or Philadelphia losses will ensure the Pacers a spot in the playoffs for the third consecutive season.
“I thought we didn’t play with great urgency in the first half, defensively…They had a lot of small guards that were putting pressure on us to contain, so they got off a little bit in the first half. I wasn’t really happy with (our defense) in the first half.” – Frank Vogel on Indiana’ defense
“Roy Hibbert was the star of the game, dominating on both ends…You could see in his body language, he’s just playing more confident. We said all along that it was going to be a process and that he would snap out of it. He’s playing well, not just tonight, but over the last few weeks.” – Frank Vogel
“I just feel like just the atmosphere of the court when we play hard, things are fun out there. Everybody’s eating – that’s what we say when everybody is scoring and getting stops and stuff like that. We were all just moving the ball extremely well. We knew they only had nine active players. They had been depleted by injuries so we just tried to make sure we wear them down, not take too many outside shots and kill them in the paint.” – Roy Hibbert
“It’s good to see Roy play at the level that we know he can play at. That’s the All-Star Roy that we’ve had. It’s just good to see it. We’re a way better team when he gets going like that.” – Paul George
Stat of the Game
After shooting 54 percent in the first half, the Timberwolves were held to a 34 percent clip in the second half.
- Double-technicals were handed out to Roy Hibbert and Dante Cunningham.
- Pregame, the Pacers recognized four members of the team's stat crew – Bill York, Bill Bevan, Paul Furimsky, and Bob Bernath – a group that has worked for the franchise from the beginning, ABA included – 46 years.
- Indiana basketball head coach Tom Crean and Colts linebacker Robert Mathis sat courtside.
The Los Angeles Lakers make their way to the Fieldhouse for the first time in two years on Friday, at 7 PM EST.