Monday, November 25, 2013 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Pacers 98, Timberwolves 84
Scott Agness | November 25, 2013
Pacers coach Frank Vogel didn’t need to say anything to his point guard. George Hill had been hearing it from his teammates the last few days. Be more aggressive, play your game.
Hill, who doesn’t like to be classified as a point guard, but rather just a ‘guard,’ scored a season-high 26 points and dished out seven assists in the Pacers’ 98-84 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves (8-8), who’ve now dropped four of their last five games.
Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio picked up two fouls just minutes into the game and the Pacers (13-1), specifically Hill, took full advantage. They went on an 11-2 run, keyed by Hill, who had 12 points and four assists in the opening quarter, to get out ahead by double digits. The Pacers shot 48 percent, though their final five attempts were poor and offline, which allowed the Timberwolves to draw within four at quarter’s end.
Minnesota’s struggles to get the ball in the hoop continued into the second. They shot just 32 percent in the opening half but outscored the Pacers by nine points (on two times the amount of attempts) at the foul line to trail by just two at halftime. Kevin Love, a premier big man and the fourth-leading scorer in the NBA, notched his 15th double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds) of this season by this time.
As the third quarter progressed, the Pacers became even more irritated with how the game was called. Vogel, by this point, had already been handed a technical foul. With just over three minutes remaining in the stanza, the Pacers had 21 fouls to the Timberwolves’ nine, plus 14 fewer free throw attempts. David West and George Hill had each been T’d up, the latter one causing head official Scott Foster to warn the entire team with “Don’t say another word to me or my crew.”
Fueled off emotion, the Pacers converted it into points. And they would be called for just three fouls in the final 15 minutes. Following three foul shots from Kevin Martin, which gave the Timberwolves a 66-65 lead, the Pacers went on a 22-4 run to grab a firm grasp on the game.
Indiana’s league-leading defense held Minnesota 22 points below their average and to just 32.6 percent shooting as 16,000 strong witnessed their 14-point victory.
Inside the Numbers
George Hill scored his season-high 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting and 3-for-4 from outside. Hill’s team-high five steals tied his career high and his seven assists tied his best mark of the year. Paul George easily finished with 26 points – his 12th game this season with at least 20. He was a perfect 4-for-4 from beyond the arc, corralled eight rebounds, but had six turnovers.
Kevin Love, like his entire team, struggled shooting the ball (6-for-20) but he still was able to post his usual big numbers. Love had 20 points and 17 rebounds; Nikola Pekovic had 18 and 11, and Kevin Martin tallied 18 points as well.
Indiana defended Minnesota extraordinary well. The Timberwolves are No. 1 in fast break points (20.9) and they were held to just six. And, although the Timberwolves forced two more turnovers (21-19), the Pacers were +5 in points off turnovers to counteract that.
The Pacers improve to 8-0 at home, a new franchise record to start the season, with the average margin of victory being 14. Six of the eight wins have been by double digits.
The Pacers are now 11-0 when leading after three quarters, and 3-0 vs. Western Conference teams.
“We got a great lift from a guy everybody seems to forget to mention when they talk about our team in George Hill. George Hill is one beast of a guard. … He likes to set people up and plays unselfishly all the time, but he’s capable of exploding like he did tonight.” – Frank Vogel
“Our defense is special. I shake my head at what we’re able to accomplish on the defensive end. This team (Minnesota) is a great offensive basketball team and we didn’t even keep our turnovers down and we were still able to keep them out of fast break points.” – Frank Vogel
“My teammates just want me to be aggressive. They’ve been on me all week about, ‘G, just be aggressive, be you, score the ball.’ That’s what I’ve been doing since high school and college and I took that challenge.” – George Hill
“He definitely came out with the mentality that he was going to attack, whoever was guarding him. He’s a special player when he’s playing like that. Most nights, he has the advantage size wise on the other point guard so he’s got to look to exploit that.” – Paul George.
“They’re a pretty good team, you know. They’ve got a big goal in mind and they’re doing what they need to do to attain that goal come June. Their defense is pretty good, especially their half-court defense.” – Timberwolves guard Kevin Martin
Stat of the Game
Minnesota entered the game averaging 48.4 points in the paint, which topped the league. The Pacers held them to 36, while scoring 52 themselves, a new season high.
- The Pacers won their fifth straight home game over the Timberwolves to boost their all-time series record in Indy to 20-4.
- Frank Vogel was T’d up for the second time this season. David West and George Hill each earned their first technicals of the year.
- Rick Pitino, the head coach at Louisville and a mentor to Frank Vogel, sat in coach’s seats for the game. Indiana coach Tom Crean, former Pacer Brad Miller, Colts linebacker Robert Mathis, and sprinter LaShawn Merritt, the reigning World Champion in the 400 meters, were among those on hand.
The Pacers head to Charlotte, where they'll take on the Bobcats on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. EST.