Count 'em up from 3-land!
(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
After some unlikely heroes emerged to beat Charlotte on Wednesday, the Indiana Pacers rode their horses throughout the game on Friday to run past the Minnesota Timberwolves, 124-113.
Points came in bunches tonight as the Pacers pushed the pace from the start to finish the first half with 66 points. Before the night was over, the TWolves needed to hand out beach towels because the Pacers turned their hoop into a splash zone from 3-land. Check out the numbers. 16 of 27 from behind the arc. Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy combined to make 12 of 15 3-balls. Even Travis Diener made one in the secnod half.
Danny Granger's playing status was questionable before the game but there was no question his wrist was feeling fine in the second half when he found his groove and knocked down five treys, finishing with 32 points. Although, those last two were a little cheap, thrown up at the final buzzer.
Mike Dunleavy couldn't throw it in the ocean against Charlotte, but he stuggled to miss tonight. In fact, his only miss from distance was a heat check from a few feet behind the line.
Troy Murphy continued his stellar play of late, pitching in 22 points and 15 rebounds for his second straight double-double. Murph had the double-double secured at the half. Big number 3 seems real comfortable with his game lately, really able to pick his spots.
Can't forget the other bigs, as Jeff Foster tossed up a 10 and 12 double-double of his own and David Harrison came away with three blocks and ten points in 26 real solid minutes.
O'B shortened up the rotation tonight as neither Kareem Rush nor Shawne Williams played. Maybe that's because everyone on the court was at least getting it done on offense and on the glass. The Pacers simply outworked the Timberwolves, beating them to loose balls and keeping rebounds alive for extra possessions. Plenty of smiles to go around at that end of the floor.
The defensive side of things was simply not good. O'B will take the win, but should have plenty to complain about with the poor defense in the second half. Let's face it, the TWolves effort was lacking at times and they were primed to be put to sleep early in the second half. The Pacers couldn't stop them, though and had to hang on for the win as the TWolves put up 64 second half points.
Al Jefferson really didn't seem himself tonight or at least the player I've seen in the past. He finished with 11 points and nine rebounds, but he wasn't assertive on offense, and more than once Murphy or Foster hustled through or around him to keep rebounds alive that normally Al would secure.
So, we can all agree it wasn't a perfect game but there was plenty of fun. That tends to happen when the ball is bouncing your way and shots are falling. One play in particular summed up the night for both teams. If I may, the play began when Danny Granger's jumper bounced off the front rim. Dun no look swatted the rebound over his head toward mid-court. It was deflected and ended up over near the Pacers bench where Danny Granger dove to keep it alive by punching it to Foster, who then fed Dun on the baseline. Now three TWolves had already sprinted toward their basket so Al Jefferson was the only one between Dun and the hoop. With no other defenders, Murph was breaking toward the hoop from the left side. Dun sees him and tries to leave him a lob for the big finish as the Pacers bench rose to their feet in anticipation. Unfortunately, the pass was a little off and Murph's timing was even more off and he not only didn't throw down the finish, but also botched the bunny. Fortunately, Foster was around to clean up and get fouled as he made the off-balance put back.
The end result was perfect, but the execution was about as smooth as a broken beer bottle. I can only imagine the AND 1 announcer softly saying, "Oh, my" instead bellowing of "Ohhhwa, Bayyybeee!!!"
The play illicited plenty of chuckles on the court and full out laughter on the bench. Jamaal Tinsley saw the whole thing developing early and was up ready to go crazy. After the clunky finish, he enjoyed a good laugh with his teammates on the bench.
Nothing wrong with some fun to go along with another W. The Pacers will have to get serious tomorrow as they head to Chicago to take on the Bulls for a key game in the playoff quagmire of the Eastern Conference.