There's good news and bad news. The good news is tha the Pacers don't have any more back-to-backs where the second game is on the road. They've struggled with those all season and won't have to face another one until next season. The bad news is that they got walloped by the Minnesota Timberwovles, 104-91, in a game they never led and allowed Kevin Love to go off for 42 poitns and 16 rebounds.
The loss drops the Pacers to 41-13 for the season and just two games ahead of the streaking Miami Heat for the top seed in the East. And remember, these the Pacers and Heat will play each other two more times this season, once in March and once more in April, and the race for home court advantage just got a lot tighter.
It was a poor effort all round tonight, especially as the Wolves were missing their second and third leading scorers in Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic. Paul George was the only guy who got it going offensively, scoring 35 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, but he was really sloppy with the ball in coughing up 7 of the team's 21 turnovers. George Hill had 13 points and 6 rebounds, but was burned off pick and rolls all night by Ricky Rubio, who had a franchise record 17 assists, and JJ Barea, who came off the bench to score 12 points.
Lance Stephenson could not get his jump shot to fall all night, but he bullied his way to the basket for 10 points on 15 shots along with 10 rebounds, but he also missed all 4 free throw attempts. David West had a frustrating night with just 4 points and was in foul trouble for most of the night, while Roy Hibbert was again a non-factor with 4 points and 5 rebounds with zero blocks.
It was interesting to see Frank Vogel play Chris Copeland at the four instead of Luis Scola in the second half tonight, and Cope did his best to score 6 points in 11 minutes. Ian Mahinmi still can't catch the ball, but he did alright defensively and was generally more of an impact than Hibbert. Danny Granger was atrocious, scoring 2 points on 1-6 shooting. The whole team was just a step slow tonight and had trouble every time they tried to dribble the ball. And the Wolves scored 18 fast break points, most of them on fall court outlets the Pacers never seem to be ready for.
Disappointing night, but the Pacers have to regroup and move on. They play the tanking Bucks on Saturday night in Milwaukee, which offers a great opportunity to lay a smackdown on their opponents.