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Minnesota Timberwolves 101, Indiana Pacers 75: Kevin Love Sets Double-Double Record, Pacers Lose Fifth Straight

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How bad can it get?

The Indiana Pacers played their worst game of the season, trumping even the lifeless effort early in the season at Philadelphia, getting thumped by the Minnesota Timberwolves, 101-75

After seven minutes the Pacers were down 14-7, missing several open looks. Only Tyler Hansbrough was able to get anything going offensively.

Surely they couldn't play any worse, right?

The Pacers went on to fall behind by 17 points in the second quarter. Minnesota wasn't playing great, but Kevin Love broke Moses Malone's modern-day NBA (Wilt Chamberlain used to average 20-20s, you know) double-double record thanks in large part to all of the missed shots provided by the Pacers.

At one point late in the first half, Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert and Darren Collison were a combined 1 for 19 from the field. The Pacers would finish the half shooting an even 25% from the floor and and 16.7% from 3-land (2-12). Hansbrough and A.J. Price combined to shoot 7-12, but rest of team was only 4-32. But the Pacers made 16 of 23 free throw attempts which kept them within 10 points at the half.

Surely they couldn't play any worse, right?

Apparently the Pacers' poor play knows no bounds. The horrid shooting continued only with more turnovers and less free throws. The offense was so inept, at one point it appeared that the Timberwolves' defense was just dropping off the Pacers, encouraging them to shoot so Minny could clear the rebound and go the other way.

The capper on the evening came via Danny Granger. Granger was 1-15, having clanked perimeter shots all night. A.J. Price found Granger all alone on the baseline for a wide-open layup or dunk. He tried to do both and ended up blowing the bucket. Granger would come in later for some garbage time, but only hit one more shot, finishing 2 for 19 from the floor including 0 for 9 from behind the arc, a career-worst shooting night.

Thanks to some late garbage-time buckets the Pacers almost raised their shooting percentage to 30%, but the effort, sloppiness and body language were far worse than the team's shooting performance.

Surely they can't play any worse, right?

This game doesn't deserve any additional thoughts, but I have a few after the jump.

  • Frank Vogel made a change in his starting lineup, replacing Brandon Rush and Josh McRoberts with Paul George and Tyler Hansbrough. Something had to give with the starting unit and it offered Vogel a chance to reward Hansbrough's great effort of late in the face of the team's adversity.
  • Hansbrough scored the team's first 7 points and 9 of the first 11 in the first quarter eventually finishing with 21 (6-1 FGs) points, 10 rebounds and 3 steals. But Hansbrough had his hands full with a gimpy Kevin Love who ended his big night with 16 points and 21 rebounds.
  • Jeff Foster remained in Boston getting treatment on his back. That put James Posey in the backup PF role with Josh McRoberts backing up Roy Hibbert. McRoberts tweaked his knee early in the game, so Solo Jones made an appearance for the first time in a long time. Posey's shot was rusty, which was evident when he missed a wide-open 18-footer and it missed everything, slamming off the glass, wide left. That kind of night.
  • Paul George had a frustrating first start, battling foul trouble to finish with 8 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Hopefully this is the first of many starts to finish out the season. Why not?
  • Darren Collison and Roy Hibbert continue their declining level of play. Hibbert couldn't get anything going against Darko Milicic, literally. He finised with a goose egg, going 0-6 from the floor. Collison wasn't much better making only 1 of 5 shots with 4 turnovers.
  • Collison had a few near-turnovers as he appears to have lost all feel for his handle on the ball. The slightest of traffic seems to separate him from the ball. A.J. Price wasn't much better with the ball in traffic, turning it over three times.
  • Ugh, why am I bothering recounting this mess. One more thing, though. Lance Stephenson was not part of the playing rotation as he had been in the previous six games. I was hoping that Vogel had decided to tighten his back-court playing rotation but then Lance remained on the bench throughout most of the second half while the game was out of hand. Just when I was beginning to think Lance earned his bench time with some actions off the court, he was allowed to finish out the final nine minutes of the game.
  • The Pacers are now 10 games under .500 but didn't lose any ground in the playoff race thanks to another loss by Charlotte. But at this rate, the Pacers won't make it to the playoffs without several players snapping. There is a horrible vibe emanating from this team and it has nothing to do with the coach. Until that is solved there's no point mentioning the playoffs anymore.