Game Rewind: Pacers 116, Timberwolves 105
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Jones, Price spark fourth-quarter rally as Pacers win
By Conrad Brunner
For the first time in Frank Vogel's tenure, the Pacers were losing the energy war. As a result, they trailed entering the fourth quarter, 90-83, another new experience for the interim head coach.
But in a game where grit mattered most, Vogel turned to a couple of his grittiest players and Dahntay Jones and A.J. Price brought the Pacers to life. The two reserves combined for 27 points of the fourth quarter as Indiana rallied for a 116-105 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves before 12,559 Friday in Conseco Fieldhouse.
Jones scored all of his season-high 19 points in the final period, making six of seven shots. None were bigger – or more unlikely -- than his consecutive corner 3-pointers sandwiching a big block of Kevin Love by Josh McRoberts that pushed the Pacers' lead from a tenuous 104-103 to a more comfortable 110-103 with 2:26 remaining.
Price scored all eight of his points in the opening minutes of the quarter, then got the ball to Jones, who simply took over the game, using his strength in the post and athleticism in the lane to overpower Minnesota's defenders.
Danny Granger also scored 19 for the Pacers. Love had 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Timberwolves.
The Pacers won their fifth in a row at home and improved to 23-28 overall, 6-1 under Vogel. They're 15-11 at Conseco Fieldhouse. Minnesota had a two-game road win streak snapped and dropped to 13-40, 4-24 on the road.
- "'The game was clearly won by our bench. Our bench came in and took over the game. A.J. Price got it started with a big lift and Dahntay jones was red hot. Dahntay stays ready, he’s a good basketball player, a good defensive player and he got hot tonight." – Pacers coach Frank Vogel
- "We had to be scrappy for the whole game and we were extremely scrappy and tough in the fourth quarter. A.J. really gave us a lift. He was a spark and the guy that carried us.” – Jones
- “Good win. Tough win. We had to gut it out in the fourth quarter and we did." – Pacers forward Josh McRoberts
- "We let loose balls get away from us too many times and could have played a little tougher on the defensive end. I told myself I would work hard and play hard as long as I was in the game. Our second unit really played well and got the job done.” – Price
- “Dahntay Jones played out of his mind. Nobody has seen him play like that in a long time." – Love
STAT OF THE GAME
Prior to the fourth quarter, Jones had made two 3-pointers in seven attempts all season. But he made two in a span of 90 seconds from opposite corners in the closing minutes, easily the biggest buckets of the game.
With Mike Dunleavy off to a hot start, scoring 14 points in the first six minutes, the Pacers jumped out to a 20-11 lead but the Wolves put together a 13-2 run to take the lead and wipe out any hopes of an easy night for the home team.
Granger heated up midway through the second period, scoring nine in a row as the Pacers took a 50-46 lead but the T-Wolves recovered to take a 58-56 lead into the break as rookie Lazar Hayward scored 12 points.
Minnesota came out of the locker room with an 9-1 run to open a 66-57 lead and the Pacers faced an uphill struggle the rest of the way.
With Price and Jones providing the offensive spark and the defense tightening the screws, the Pacers held the Timberwolves to 4-of-20 shooting and forced five turnovers as they outscored the visitors 33-15 in the fourth quarter.
BY THE NUMBERS
Jones did not take a shot through three quarters but was the dominant force in the fourth, going 6-of-7 overall, 2-of-2 from the arc and 5-of-6 from the line for 19 points. Granger shot 7-of-12, adding six rebounds and three steals to his 19 points. Dunleavy scored just one more point after his early flurry, finishing with 15. Tyler Hansbrough had 14 points and five rebounds off the bench. McRoberts scored 12 and Paul George 11 with four rebounds and four assists. Indiana got 56 points from its bench, including 29 of the team's 33 points in the fourth quarter.
Love racked up his 39th consecutive double-double, the longest streak since Moses Malone had 44 straight for Philadelphia in 1982-83. Nikola Pekovic had 15 points, Wayne Ellington and Hayward 14 apiece and Corey Brewer 12. Minnesota shot just 5-of-17 (.294) from the 3-point line and had more turnovers (18) than assists (15).
- The Pacers shot 11-of-23 in the first quarter, ending their run of eight straight games with at least 50 percent shooting in the opening period.
- Indiana trailed at halftime (58-56) and entering the fourth quarter (90-83) for the first time under Vogel.
- Paul George ended an 0-of-11 skid from the 3-point line with a buzzer-beater to end the first quarter.
- Tyler Hansbrough picked up a technical foul with 5:49 left in the game for throwing an elbow after grabbing a rebound.
- The Timberwolves tied the Pacers on the boards, 44-44, ending Indiana's run of outrebounding an opponent in six straight games.
- The Pacers registered their third win (3-18) in a game in which they trailed heading to the fourth.
- Indiana's 116 points tonight represents its third of at least 110 points in seven games under Vogel.
The Pacers head to Milwaukee to face Brandon Jennings, Andrew Bogut and the Bucks Saturday (8;30 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM).