Short-handed Pacers found plenty of buckets to beat Minnesota.
The Pacers snapped their three-game home losing streak in impressive fashion on Wednesday, running the score up and then holding on to beat the Timberwolves, 141-137.
Playing without Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner, the game started with obvious concerns about how the Pacers might find their points, let alone keep Minny from scoring. As it turned out, points were no problem as the Pacers exploded for arguably their best first half of the season, piling up 77 points while finding a way to slow down the Timberwolves in the second quarter to take a 21-point lead to the break.
Caris LeVert got things going early for the Pacers, but Aaron Holiday and Goga Bitadze threw things into overdrive in the second quarter to establish the Pacers big lead. AHoliday had 14 second-quarter points while Bitadze added 7 of his 12 first half points.
The fun didn’t last long, as Minnesota quickly shaved eight points off the big halftime lead with Karl-Anthony Towns going on the attack for six quick third-quarter points. LeVert and Doug McDermott quickly pushed the lead back the other way, but Minnesota kept grinding on the lead, cutting it to 11 at one point in the third before the Pacers eventually took a 15-point lead to the fourth quarter.
With the Pacers undermanned in the front court, not only was KAT a problem but Naz Reid also made his presence felt. Forget the fact that Reid is 6’9, that dude is a big man and didn’t mind throwing his bulk around. Heading into the fourth quarter, JaKarr Sampson was saddled with 5 fouls while Bitadze had 3 fouls. Towns finished with 32 points while Reid added 16.
Still, only another fourth quarter fade could ruin this night. While the T’Wolves cut the lead to single digits early, a pair of threes from Justin Holiday and one by Edmond Sumner help stabilize the Pacers. But Minny kept feasting on the Pacers around the rim with KAT and Anthony Edwards attacking the rim for two’s.
The lead would then get down to four points inside of a miute, but the Pacers were able to hold on and hold off the T’Wolves thanks to just enough three-balls, seven 4Q threes to be exact, including the dagger, a corner three in front of the T’Wolves bench by T.J. McConnell.
After the ball splashed through the Net, McConnell quickly turned to the opponent’s bench, not doubt responding to what he was hearing before releasing the big shot. Of course, a wild three by D’Angelo Russell would force Aaron Holiday to make a pair of free throws to seal the deal, but he was up to the task.
A balanced scoring effort is often a winning formula for the Pacers and this time they had seven players in double figures with the Holiday brothers leading the way. Justin had 21 points while Aaron finished with 22 off the bench.
This strange and high-scoring affair may not have produced the best basketball played in the league this year, but it was certainly entertaining.