MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Pacers walked into Target Center with heavy legs Sunday night, playing the second game of a tough back-to-back that started in Denver the night before.
The young Minnesota Timberwolves were the ones who really looked tired to start, and the Pacers took advantage of open shot after open shot to build a big lead and hold on for the win.READ MORE: Minneapolis Police Issue City-Wide Alert Over Armed Car Robberies; Uber, Lyft Drivers Urged To Beware
C.J. Miles scored 28 points and David West bulled his way to the basket for two big points with 34 seconds to play to help the Pacers to a 100-96 victory over the Timberwolves on Sunday night.
Miles hit 10 of 18 shots and Roy Hibbert had 15 points, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Pacers, who got 48 points from their bench. They shot a season-high 50 percent from the field and forced 16 turnovers to win for just the second time this month.
“You get that taste and then start to remember why we do the things we do every day, why we run the system, why we try to play and get the win,” Miles said. “We’ve still got to believe in that stuff because as competitors we want to win every game, make everybody play, want to make every shot and you get impatient.”
Mo Williams had 24 points and 10 assists and Shabazz Muhammad added 21 points and six rebounds for the Timberwolves (5-21). They have lost 11 of their last 12 games.
“I told our guys what I was most disappointed in, and it was pointed at our young players, was I thought they had no energy to start the game,” coach Flip Saunders said. “When you’re playing your young players and they’re playing that much and you have that many wasted minutes, you’re going to struggle.”
West finished with 14 points on 7-for-9 shooting and Donald Sloan scored eight straight points for Indiana to start the fourth quarter while the Timberwolves charged back into the game.
The Wolves missed 13 of their first 14 shots, but looked even worse on the defensive end where they allowed Indiana to shoot 55 percent in the first half and build a 16-point lead.
The Pacers led 61-42 early in the third quarter before the Wolves woke up. Muhammad scored eight straight during a 17-1 run that trimmed the deficit to three points and Williams hit a jumper to tie the game at 87 with 3:33 to play.
Williams hit a jumper a minute later for a 92-91 lead, but Miles’ fourth 3-pointer of the game quieted the crowd and West put his shoulder down, pushed Thaddeus Young out of the way and dropped in a layup for a 96-94 lead that the Pacers finished off at the free throw line.
“We don’t want to let them get that close and tie it up and take the lead, but our guys have been deep in the playoffs, most of this group,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “They showed great composure and were able to pull out the win.”READ MORE: MDH: Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Salame Sticks Sold At Trader Joe's
Both teams have battled injuries to key players all season, with the Pacers missing Paul George and George Hill and the Wolves playing most of the season without point guard Ricky Rubio, center Nikola Pekovic and shooting guard Kevin Martin.
Pacers: Coach Frank Vogel said injured PG George Hill (quadriceps) has looked good for stretches during practice, but is still trying to get his conditioning back. He was injured in Minnesota in the preseason and has not played yet this year. … The Pacers have at least 20 assists in six of their last eight games.
Timberwolves: Newly acquired Troy Daniels made a brief debut at the end of the second quarter. Daniels came from Houston in the trade that sent Corey Brewer to the Rockets last week. The Wolves have been at the bottom of the league in 3-point shooting, which is Daniels’ specialty. “There’s definitely going to be a lot more 3s, I can tell you that,” Daniels said.
Rookie Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 overall pick, scored five points on 2-for-8 shooting and was singled out by Saunders after the game for his lack of energy at the start. Saunders has been harping on Wiggins to bring consistent effort throughout the game all season long.
“He’s just got to play harder,” Saunders said. “You can’t pick and choose.”
Pacers: Host New Orleans on Tuesday night.
Timberwolves: At Cleveland on Tuesday night.MORE NEWS: Campus Alert: Person Robbed Near West Bank By Suspect With Screwdriver
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