Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 8:00 PM ET at Target Center
Game Rewind: Pacers 91, Timberwolves 104
Wheat Hotchkiss | February 19, 2014
Kevin Love outdueled Paul George, and the Minnesota Timberwolves (26-28) held off the Pacers (41-13) 104-91 on Wednesday night in Minnesota.
Love scored 42 points (on 14-of-22 shooting) and grabbed 16 rebounds, topping the 30-point mark for the seventh time this season and collecting his NBA-leading 45th double-double of the season. George also had a double-double, finishing with 35 points (on 11-of-22 shooting) and 11 boards in the loss.
In their first game after the All-Star break on Tuesday night, the Pacers got off to a sizzling start, roaring out to a 31-9 run en route to a 108-98 win over the Atlanta Hawks. On Wednesday, Indiana was on the other end of a similar storyline.
George had 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting in the first quarter, but the rest of Indiana’s roster was just 3-of-13, and the blue and gold turned the ball over eight times.
On the other end, Love drained three 3-pointers and matched George with 12 points, while Ricky Rubio diced up the Pacers’ defense for eight assists to help the Timberwolves take a 30-18 lead after the first 12 minutes.
Minnesota used a 10-0 run early in the second quarter to extend its lead to 40-20. The Pacers would respond with a 13-0 run of their own to cut the deficit to seven, but the Timberwolves closed the quarter with an 8-2 stretch to push their lead back to double digits.
Love and George, both starters in Sunday's All-Star Game, both caught fire in the third quarter, with each player erupting for 18 points in the period. Despite the offensive fireworks, Minnesota maintained a comfortable lead throughout the frame.
When David West picked up his fourth foul with 3:29 left in the quarter, Pacers head coach Frank Vogel opted to sub in sharpshooter Chris Copeland instead of normal backup Luis Scola. Copeland provided an offensive spark, scoring six points in 8:14 and helping to stretch the defense, but the Pacers got no closer than seven.
J.J. Barea's jumper with 8:33 to play pushed Minnesota's lead back to 11, and the Pacers never got within single digits. With the loss, Indiana falls to 5-7 when playing the second game of a back-to-back on the road.
Inside the Numbers
George carried the Pacers offensively, but he also had seven of Indiana's 21 turnovers. George Hill added 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting, while Lance Stephenson recorded his 16th double-double of the season (10 points and 10 rebounds).
Indiana's starting frontcourt struggled mightily. David West battled foul trouble much of the night, and finished with four points on 2-of-10 shooting and seven rebounds. Roy Hibbert, the Pacers' All-Star center, finished with just four points, five rebounds, and zero blocks in 23:37.
Love hit 5-of-10 attempts from beyond the arc and led five Timberwolves players in double figures. Corey Brewer and J.J. Barea each added 12 points, Ronny Turiaf contributed 11, and Dante Cunningham chipped in 10 and seven rebounds. Rubio had just six points on 2-of-10 shooting, but set a career high with 17 assists.
The Timberwolves won despite connecting on just 58 percent of their attempts from the free throw line (18-of-31). Turiaf was 1-for-8 from the charity stripe and Rubio was 2-for-6.
The Pacers fall to 13-9 when attempting fewer free throws than their opponent. Indiana shot just two free throws in the first half, and finished with 20 attempts (making 15) to Minnesota's 31.
Minnesota never trailed, and led for the game's final 46 minutes after Love's 3-pointer broke an early 3-3 tie.
"I thought a lot of those shots he made were with good defense. You have to give him credit. He’s just an extraordinary player, and he put on an extraordinary performance tonight." -Frank Vogel on Kevin Love
"We didn’t get back well enough. We know Corey Brewer’s one of the best leak-out guys in the league, and we didn’t account for him." -Vogel on the Pacers' defense
"We were kind of stuck in some stuff. Larry (Bird) is always saying, ‘One of these games you’re going to throw him in there, and he’s going to make a difference.’ So, I thought that was the right time." -Vogel on playing Chris Copeland instead of Luis Scola in the second half
Stat of the Game
Love's 42 points are the most the Pacers have given up to an individual player in regulation all season. Marcus Thornton scored 42 for Sacramento in the Pacers' 116-111 overtime win on Jan. 24.
- Turiaf left the game with 7:15 remaining with a right knee injury and did not return.
- Stephenson received a technical foul for shoving Rubio with 3:31 to play. He was immediately substituted out of the game and did not return.
- With the loss, the Pacers fall to 5-6 in games played on Wednesday. They are 36-7 on any other day of the week, including 9-0 on both Tuesdays and Fridays.
The Pacers travel to Milwaukee, where they'll take on the Bucks, owners of the worst record in the NBA, on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. EST. Game Preview »