clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Pacers final score: Timberwolves clamp down on Pacers 115-101

Indiana struggled on both ends tonight, snapping their five game winning streak to Minnesota. Myles Turner led the way with 31 points.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Indiana Pacers Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Very little clicked tonight for the Indiana Pacers, struggling to combat Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns as the Minnesota Timberwolves snapped Indiana’s five game winning streak. The Pacers got nights from Myles Turner and Bennedict Mathurin, but struggled in the “total team effort” portion of the game.

That was a bit of an issue with Minnesota’s starting five coming up with such a complete performance, all five reaching double figures, four shooting 70% or better. The Pacers, continuing to flirt with slow starts quickly found themselves down 8-0, a deficit they would end up chasing the rest of the night.

The first quarter deficit would swell to as high as 17, but even as the starting unit failed to piece much together, Mathurin stepped in to score seven points in the final two minutes, helping cut the deficit to eight heading into the second quarter.

Mathurin continued to play well early in the second quarter, hitting some absurd shots as the Pacers fought back.

His follow-up shot, going up and under against Towns and Gobert, cut the lead to three, but it would be as close as Indiana could get before the Timberwolves extended the lead back out to 10.

From there, Indiana looked to Turner, hitting back-to-back threes to cut the lead to six. Capitalizing off of a stretch in which Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield showcased some rare positives shooting the ball tonight, the Pacers would eventually go ahead 46-45 with 2:24 remaining in the quarter.

Twenty-one seconds later, Minnesota regained the lead, which didn’t feel too bad until back-to-back turnovers in the final 30 seconds gave the Wolves four free points, sending them into halftime up five. That gap would more or less hold throughout the third, but not without a herculean effort from Turner, scoring 15 points on 6-9 shooting with three made threes, including a poster jam against Jaden McDaniels.

Any semblance of momentum Indiana tried to seize from that dunk went away in a hurry as Towns would score the next seven for Minnesota, quickly extending the lead back out to nine. Mathurin continued to march to the line, shooting four in the quarter to bring his in-game total up to nine, but another dreadful finish to the quarter set up Minnesota with a 10-point lead heading into the fourth.

Indiana, led by Oshae Brissett to open the fourth, had some gasps of life, but at no point was there a chance to stop the Timberwolves defensively, especially with the Pacers getting no benefit of the doubt from the officials, losing their first game by double figures since October 26.

The stats for Minnesota are eye-popping. They shot 60% as as a team, the highest allowed so far this season, including 74 points in the paint. Having such easy looks throughout the game gave them just enough pop from beyond the arc to keep Indiana at bay.

Things didn’t fair much better on the other side of the floor for Indiana either, shooting a season low 38.5%. McDaniels effectively neutralized Haliburton’s scoring ability, holding him to 10 points on 4-15 shooting, though Haliburton found his success in the fourth against Austin Rivers mainly. While he did dish 14 assists, it was an all-night struggle for the young guard.

That perimeter defense carried over inside as well as Gobert got all the respect being Defensive Player of the Year entails, blocking zero shots but holding Indiana to under 50% shooting in the paint. The duo of he and Towns paid dividends tonight, leading to seven of Minnesota’s eight offensive rebounds and a staggering 19 second chance points.

With all of these factors going in Minnesota’s direction, the Pacers had to a lot of ground to make up. Turner helped a lot with that, scoring 31 points on 7-9 shooting from three point range, including a team high seven rebounds and four steals. The shooting numbers gave the Pacers eight extra makes, but with twice as many attempts, the percentages weren’t great.

The steals, however, did play a key role as Indiana racked up 16 steals as a team, forcing 23 turnovers overall, and outscoring Minnesota 32-14 in points off turnovers. Indiana played a relatively clean game by their standards, but were still constantly unable to finish off easy plays, giving the Wolves a 22-14 advantage in fast break points.

Off the bench, Mathurin led the way with 21 points, hitting both of his threes in the first quarter and spending the rest of the night getting to the line. He took 12 shots at the free throw line tonight, missing three. The Pacers had just 16 attempts overall, zero from the starting lineup.

That led to just 28 total points from the starting unit outside of Turner. Hield had 13, but was just 3-11 from deep and was instantly in trouble any time he tried to do anything besides catch and shoot. Aaron Nesmith hit an early three, but he and Jalen Smith were made complete non-factors after that, shooting 1-14 combined for two points, 0-7 from three.

Smith in particular highlighted a real problem for the Pacers defense on the night, which came into play quite often when Goga Bitadze was in the game, getting minutes for Isaiah Jackson, who was out. Bitadze played very well overall, blocking four shots (well, probably more), but if his rim protection was successful, the help and follow through to change possession was not, giving Gobert and the Timberwolves free reign on a second chance opportunity.

Beyond that, there just wasn’t much going for Indiana, who were left chasing a slow start they couldn’t climb their way out of it. As such, the Pacers suffered their first loss in two weeks, falling to 10-7 with one game remaining on their home stand. That will come against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, the traditional post-Thanksgiving 8 p.m. tip following the Christmas tree lighting downtown.

Getting a second win against the Nets on Friday would be nice, not only to wrap up a winning home stand, but to avoid what could quickly become an ugly stretch for the Pacers, just days away from the start of a brutal seven game, 10-day West Coast trip that will include another matchup against this Minnesota team.