Back-to-back three pointers with under four minutes left in the fourth quarter pushed the Indiana Pacers to an eight-point lead that proved enough in getting back into the win column against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Pacers struggled with turnovers all night with 23 leading to 31 Minnesota points, but 22 Wolves turnovers minimized the damage of their own miscues, scoring 28 points.
The Pacers squandered leads in the first three quarters, falling behind by as many as seven in the third quarter before Monta Ellis finished the quarter with five points to push Indiana to within two heading into the fourth. The low scoring affair benefited the Pacers in the fourth when they broke out, outscoring the Timberwolves 36-20, using a 12-2 run early to put themselves seemingly in control up 80-72.
But as they had all night, Minnesota closed the gap with a 14-4 run, capped off by a Ricky Rubio three pointer that drew the Wolves to within two points. Paul George continued his shooting struggles, but a key corner three as a response kickstarted Indiana's game closing run. George began to find a rhythm late in the fourth, finishing with 18 points on 7-16 shooting, including a 4-8 night from behind the arc.
George made all three of his shots in the fourth quarter, but seemed tentative early in the game, coming up with a pair of shot clock violations, turning it over five times on the night, but as has been the problem in recent losses, it was the lack of George's positives that kept Indiana from getting over the hump even despite solid nights from other players.
Monta Ellis put in the biggest night for the Pacers with 22 points on 8-15 shooting, but led the team in turnovers with six. The Pacers got a boost from their bench throughout the night, including 12 from Jordan HIll and 11 from Chase Budinger. The play of Budinger in particular was a big lift for the Pacers, going 4-5 from the floor, including a late three and a pair of steals.
Rodney Stuckey hurt his ankle shortly after entering the game, but returned to score seven, piecing together an eight assist, five rebound night. George Hill had just seven, but his five straight points early in the fourth quarter were huge in solidifying Indiana's lead for the remainder of the game, and despite struggles with catching passes, Ian Mahinmi was perfect from the field with 11 points, hitting all four of his shot attempts and all three of his free throws.
The turnovers mucked up the flow of the game, but it wasn't enough to slow down Karl Anthony-Towns, who had a game high 24 on 10-16 shooting with Andrew Wiggins pitching in 19. The Pacers snap their third three game losing streak of the season, getting them back in the win column in time to host the Atlanta Hawks on Monday.