Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 7:00 PM ET at Gainbridge Fieldhouse
Two of the hottest teams in the NBA took to the hardwood at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Thanksgiving eve, but it was the visitors who left with the sweet taste of victory.
The Minnesota Timberwolves (10-8) spoiled a five-game Indiana Pacers (10-7) winning streak with a 115-101 road win on Wednesday.
Indiana led just once in the game – by a single point in the third quarter.
The win was the fifth in a row for the Timberwolves.
Minnesota’s big men gave the Pacers trouble all evening, as three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds and All-Star power forward Karl Anthony-Towns recorded 23 points and 11 boards. Overall, the Pacers were outscored in the paint 74-38 and out-rebounded 50-30.
Pacers center Myles Turner had a strong outing, scoring 31 points while rookie Bennedict Mathurin scored 21 points.
Early on, the Pacers fell behind big.
After trailing by 17 points in the first quarter, the Pacers narrowed the score to 53-48 by intermission.
The Blue & Gold came out cold from the field, making just eight of 26 shots (4-for-9 3-point) in the opening frame, but was able to narrow the deficit to 29-21 in the waning seconds of the first quarter.
Off the tip, the Timberwolves went on an 8-0 run as the Pacers missed its first five shots.
A 3-pointer by Buddy Hield took the lid off the rim after three scoreless minutes for the Pacers before Aaron Nesmith hit a trey cut it to 10-6.
Minnesota then responded with an 11-2 run, including nine unanswered points, to lead 21-8 with 4:22 on the clock.
In the final 1:43 of the first quarter, the Pacers went on an 8-2 run, anchored by a four-point play by Mathruin.
While Indiana struggled on offense, Minnesota came out strong making 13 of 23 shots in the first quarter.
“I think we took ourselves out of our game,” Turner said. “I think we have to get off to better starts. As we start playing these teams out West and Brooklyn (on) Friday, these teams that are in playoff contention, you can’t get off to slow starts with them because they’ll bury you.”
The Pacers had a much different start to the second quarter, opening with a 7-0 run on five points from Mathruin to make it a one-possession game with 10 minutes left in the half.
Minnesota was able to establish some distance until a 9-1 run – on three points from Mathurin, point guard Tyrese Haliburton and Turner each – cut it to 43-41 with 3:34 remaining.
A pair of baskets by the Timberwolves in the final 26.3 second made it 53-48 at the break.
Mathruin led all scorers with 16 points and Turner had 10 points for the Pacers, which shot 17-for-47 (8-for-19 3-point) in the opening half. Gobert topped the Timberwolves with 11 points, as the visitors shot 55 percent in the first half.
Turner was unstoppable out of the break, scoring 15 of the team’s first 20 points, including a trio of 3-pointers and a posterizing dunk over Jaden McDaniels to cut the Pacers’ deficit to 72-70 with 4:28 in the third quarter.
Despite the scoring outburst by Turner, the Timberwolves used a pair of small scoring streaks to push its lead to 87-77 at the end of 24 minutes of play.
In the third quarter it was a battle of the bigs, as Turner had 15 points while Towns scored 13 in the frame.
The closest the Pacers got to the lead in the final frame was nine points.
A 3-pointer from Anthony Edwards and four straight from Gobert extended the Timberwolves’ midway through the fourth quarter to 101-86 and the Pacers were unable to make a comeback.
Haliburton finished with 10 points and 14 assists for his 11th double-double of the season, which continues to lead all NBA guards.
Five different players scored in double figures for the Timberwolves.
From the field, the Pacers were 37-for-96 (16-for-44 3-point) to the Timberwolves’ 47-for-78 (13-for-17 3-point).
“That was rough,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “ It’s pretty clear that we’re not sneaking up on anybody anymore. A team like Minnesota’s is a team with a lot of veterans and they came in with the idea that they wanted to physically have a lot of a lot of disposition and presence to start the game, and they made it hard on us defensively. And so we obviously did a lot of things not very well.
“The rebounding was not good, our shooting was poor,” Carlisle continued. “They had something to do with that. We fought through it, but they were just better tonight.”
Stat of the Night
Minnesota’s 74 points in the paint are the most the Pacers have given up in a single game this season. Previously, on Nov. 9, the Pacers gave up 60 points in the paint to New Orleans.
Minnesota is averaging 5.6 blocks per game this season. The team totaled 10 blocks against the Pacers, led by four from McDaniels.
The Timberwolves beat the Pacers in both second-chance points 19-4 and fast-break points 22-14.
When five or more players score in double-digits for the Pacers, the team is now 7-4.
Turner’s 31 points are the second most he has scored in a game this season. He put up 37 points against New Orleans on Nov. 7.
Haliburton has achieved exactly 14 assists in three straight games and has finished with double-digit assists 12 times this season.
Mathurin, who continues to lead all rookies in scoring, has scored at least 20 points in eight games.
Postgame Media Availability: Nov. 23, 2022
“We need to watch film and see what we did wrong and get back to (our) defensive principles. I think we were not in our right spots tonight. I don’t know what happened out there, but that was not us defensively.” – Hield on giving up 74 points in the paint
“They just had trouble guarding me …. They were looking for me all night. I was continuing to be aggressive and had a great outcome.” – Turner on his scoring
“We struggled, really, at both ends. I wouldn’t say it was all one end. I thought it was a combination. It’s one game and it felt like two or three losses, they were just coming at us in waves. But it’s one game and we’ve got to learn from it. … The thing that has set our team apart from some other teams is our connectedness, our sharing of the ball. And we just didn’t move it well offensively tonight. And you know, when you’re not connected offensively, your defense struggles in the same way.” – Carlisle on the loss
At the end of Wednesday night’s games, the Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers had the longest win streaks at five games each.
Chris Duarte missed an eighth consecutive game due to injury. The Pacers were also without Andrew Nembhard and Isaiah Jackson.
The Pacers’ five straight wins was its longest winning streak since the 2019-2020 season. During that season, the Pacers won five consecutive games three times.
Broadcast Information (TV and Radio Listings >>)
TV: Bally Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)
The Pacers close out a four-game homestand on Friday, Nov. 25 at 8:00 PM ET when they welcome Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets to Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Find Tickets >>