Prior to the game, Slick Leonard made a stong point -- it was time.
After shuffling through various playing rotations during the first three games, it was time for the Pacers to begin tightening the playing rotation and finish the preseason in game mode.
Jim O'Brien obviously felt the same way as he used a 10-man rotation, with the starters playing the most minutes, and his team responded with their best effort of the preseason, a 98-86 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
With no local television coverage and practice shuttling duties in full effect, I had the pleasure of listening to the home town call with Slick and Mark Boyle. Fortunately, Nathan was at the game and will share his eyewitness account of the action, but there was plenty to learn from the radio call.
The Pacers struggled with turnovers and missed free throws in the first half which nullified what appeared to be a solid effort, but still saw the good guys down five at the half.
Instead of the third quarter implosion we've witnessed in the past games, the Pacers jumped all over the T'Wolves and never looked back, outscoring the visitors 51-34 in the second half.
Late in the fourth quarter with the outcome determined, Slick casually said, "This is just what the doctor ordered."
After the jump, a few more thoughts.
- Danny Granger really took over in the second half. It appears he realized he was the best player in the building and really took it to Minny, finishing with 30 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists. Yep, 11 rebounds. As a team, the Pacers were +15 on the glass.
- Roy Hibbert added a double-double of his own with 16 points and 14 rebounds to go with 7 blocked shots. McRoberts was a bucket short of his own double-double, but added 11 rebounds.
- Mike Dunleavy tweaked his ankle early (he returned to play, no worries) giving Paul George some early burn with the starters and the rook rose to the occasion. George quickly knocked down a couple of threes and finished with 10 points and 6 rebounds.
- Darren Collison chipped in an efficient 19 points on 8 of 12 shooting.
- The general 10-man rotation JOB used included Granger, McRoberts, Hibbert, Dunleavy, Collison, George, Hansbrough, Price, Foster and Posey. Brandon Rush and Dahntay Jones were the only player who didn't play.