Pacers Pick Up Big Road Win Over Wolves
Al Jefferson and the Indiana Pacers picked up a much-needed road win over one of Al’s former teams Thursday night.
Al had his streak of scoring in double figures broken, but it was a typically efficient night for The Big Fella, who turned in eight points on 4-of-6 shooting, six rebounds, and an assist in 12 minutes of Indy’s 109-103 win.
Both teams started slowly, and it was still 5-2 after nearly five minutes of play, but the Pacers closed the quarter on a 9-2 run to take a 25-20 lead.
Big Al was in to start the second and showed tremendous energy out of the gate, fighting for an offensive rebound and banking home the second chance opportunity.
Al was at his best in the second, executing a beautiful spin move against Cole Aldrich with 9:14 until the half for a short jumper. Al lit up the scoreboard again a couple minutes later, this time catching the ball outside the paint and driving on Aldrich for the layup.
Indiana held a small lead throughout the second, but the Timberwolves came back to tie the game at 35 with 4:37 to the break. The Pacers regained control by scoring the next eight points, kick-started by a personal 6-0 run by Jeff Teague. A buzzer-beating three with 0.7 left on the clock by Paul George gave Indiana a 52-46 lead.
The Pacers carried the momentum from George’s shot into the third quarter, scoring the first four points to take a 10-point lead. The T-Wolves responded by scoring 10 straight to tie the game but Indy didn’t panic and reeled off a 7-0 run of its own to retake the lead.
Entering the fourth with a 76-70 lead, the Pacers needed crucial minutes from their bench to spell the starters. Indiana got timely baskets from Glen Robinson III and Al, who spun around Wolves star Karl-Anthony Towns for a layup after Minnesota had cut the lead to two with 7:26 to play.
The T-Wolves cut the lead to one with 7:09 to play, but George sank four free throws to get back to a two possession lead. The lead was 11 with 3:41 to play before Minnesota began firing from deep and cut the lead down to five, but Indiana got a big three from C.J. Miles on their next possession for a 105-97 lead with 47 seconds to go. From there, Indy was able to ice it at the free throw line.
“It’s always important to get a win after a losing streak, especially against winnable games,” said George. “This is a good win, not only for us breaking a losing streak, but for us playing well on the road. A lot of positives in this win tonight.”
The Pacers go home to face the Sacramento Kings on the second night of a back-to-back on Friday. The Pacers won their first meeting in Sacramento on Jan. 18, 106-100, by overcoming a 19-point deficit in the second half. That game tips off at 7 p.m. EST.
On Sunday, Indy plays its third game in four days at home against James Harden and the Houston Rockets. Tipoff for that game is at 6 p.m. ET.