Game Rewind: Pacers 120, Timberwolves 129

Game Recap

The Pacers sought an end to their five-game losing skid as the Minnesota Timberwolves rolled into Indianapolis Sunday afternoon. However, Anthony Edwards and company had other ideas.

The first overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft dropped 37 points, including seven threes, en route to defeating the Pacers, 129-120, at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Edwards was one of seven Timberwolves (30-27) that finished in double figures.

Carrying a 37-33 lead into the second quarter, Indiana (19-39) allowed 41 Timberwolves points in the second stanza and found itself down 12 at halftime. After a valiant third-quarter effort, the Blue & Gold could not finish the uphill battle in the fourth.

Oshae Brissett and Tyrese Haliburton led the way with 22 points apiece. Haliburton added 16 assists – one shy of his career-high. Lance Stephenson added 21 off the bench in 31:45 of action, and Jalen Smith tallied 17 on an efficient 6-of-10 shooting.

"(I want) to keep improving every game," Smith said of his second consecutive solid performance. "(I'm) watching film, finding ways to improve, finding things I need to work on."

"Smith was aggressive and effective," Rick Carlisle added. "I thought he had a good feel for where the shots were. Defensively, he did some very good things."

The squads started the game evenly matched. Despite a couple of turnovers, the Pacers held the upper hand. Goga Bitadze and new Pacer Buddy Hield totaled eight early points to grab a 13-7 Indiana lead with 8:34 left.

After, the Timberwolves managed to cut the gap to one on two separate occasions. However, Indiana scored kept itself in front. Leading 18-17, Brissett knocked in his third trey of the frame to extend the margin to four. The bucket initiated a 9-0 Indiana run that extended the lead to double digits (27-17) with 3:58 remaining.

A 7-0 Minnesota run closed the gap to three down the stretch. But Indiana had an answer again. Terry Taylor and Jalen Smith teamed up for five unanswered in 34 seconds. Then, Lance Stephenson added four over the final minute. Indiana led 37-33 after one.

Duane Washington Jr’s layup off a beautiful Haliburton dish got the second started. But, Edwards tallied eight unanswered to give the visitors their first lead, 41-39, at the 10-minute mark.

When Indiana earned a 44-43 edge, the Timberwolves used a 13-0 run to snag a 56-44 advantage with 6:39 to play. A three-point play from Brissett finally ended the Pacers' scoring drought.

The bucket sparked Indiana for a spell. Triples from Stephenson and Haliburton, followed by another Brissett bucket sliced the Timberwolves' lead to 60-55 left with 3:45 left.

The Pacers got to within four at the 1:42 mark after Haliburton knocked in a pair of free throws. But, Minnesota scored the final eight points of the frame to stretch its lead to 74-62 before halftime.

The Blue & Gold struggled to contain Minnesota early in the third. The visitors started the second half on a 10-2 run to open up an 82-64 advantage with 9:48 left. Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns both nailed threes during the spree.

Over the next few minutes, Indiana chewed into the lead. Trailing 87-69, the Blue & Gold rattled off a 9-3 run – four from Smith – to cut the gap to 90-78 with 5:37 remaining. Hield knocked in his first three during the spree.

After a timeout, Edwards responded with a triple. But, the Blue & Gold rattled off 12 unanswered to cut the gap to 93-90 with 2:22 remaining. Stephenson, Hield, Haliburton, and Brissett all contributed to the run.

Taylor's cutting finger-roll layup with 1:25 to go brought Indiana to within two. However, Edwards and Beasley knocked in threes to keep Minnesota in front as the quarter ended. Haliburton’s driving layup with four seconds remaining gave the game a 102-98 score heading into the fourth.

Using physical play, Minnesota quickly stretched its lead to 110-102 and forced an early timeout from Rick Carlisle with 10:00 remaining.

Taylor and the Blue & Gold regrouped, cutting the lead to four. But the Timberwolves remained sharp from deep. Edwards and Beverley nailed long balls to aid in grabbing a 120-111 edge with 6:07 left.

Hield gave the Pacers life with a crafty reverse layup at the 3:09 mark. The finish cut Indiana's deficit to 122-117. But, the Timberwolves tallied consecutive buckets to push their lead back to nine. With 2:13 left, Haliburton drilled a wide-open three from the right wing to cut the gap to six.

On the next Minnesota possession, Jaden McDaniels missed an alley-oop dunk. The error gave Indiana another chance. Yet, the Pacers could not convert the gift. Two free throws from Russell then gave Minnesota a 128-120 edge with 1:36 to go.

From there, Indiana could not close the gap. The crew went cold over the final 2:13 as Minnesota came away with the win.

Inside the Numbers

The Pacers committed 13 turnovers that turned into 22 Timberwolves points. Although Minnesota committed 14 turnovers, Indiana scored just 11 points from them.

The Timberwolves went 9-for-12 on the fast break for 24 points.

Minnesota shot 18-for-34 (52.9 percent) from 3-point range while Indiana connected on 13 of its 45 attempts (28.9 percent).

You Can Quote Me On That

"We're getting the chance to really look at some of these younger guys. There were some very positive things and there were some obvious things that need work." –Carlisle on the positives from tonight

"From the moment I got here, he has let me play free. He told me what he wants – he wants to get out and run, and that he trusts me. Any time you hear that from a Hall-of-Fame coach, that definitely feels good." –Haliburton on Carlisle's coaching style

"Tyrese (Haliburton) is the head of the snake on the offensive end. Playing with a guy like him, it makes you want to be in the right spots. It makes you want to get to the corner and cut because you're going to have a good chance to get the ball." – Brissett on playing with Haliburton

Stat of the Night

Haliburton is the fifth Pacer in NBA franchise history to post a 20+ point and 15+ assist game.


  • Pacers rookie Chris Duarte left the game in the first quarter after injuring his left big toe.
  • The Pacers' current six-game losing streak ties their longest losing streak this season.
  • Oshae Brissett's 22-point performance set a new season-high for the Syracuse Product.

Up Next

The Pacers travel to Milwaukee to take on Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 8:00 PM ET.


The Pacers host the Washington Wizards at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in their final game before the All-Star break on Wednesday, Feb. 16 at 7:30 PM ET. Find Tickets »