Once again, the Pacers’ biggest weakness was his start to the game. Indiana has the worst net rating in the NBA during the first quarter (-19.8), and they’ve been getting off to a slow start in seemingly every game. It happened again on Wednesday as the Pacers were down 27-10 less than ten minutes into the game.
The Blue and Gold outlasted Minnesota with the remaining 38 minutes of action. But it didn’t matter because the team started so badly. They’ve struggled starting games all season, and Wednesday night had a particularly poor opening from the team.
They went up to Tai [Haliburton] A little bit,” guard Buddy Hield said of the Timberwolves’ early strategy. We got hit in the mouth first and didn’t fight back. ”
It looked like the Pacers were going to get over their slow start, as they have done so many times this season, and take back control. For 21 seconds in the second quarter, they led 46-45. But the Timberwolves scored on their next possession and never gave up the lead again. They were the better team for much of the night and always had answers for the Indiana runs.
Most of the five-year-old Pacers were having an off night. Therese Haliburton, Buddy Held, Aaron Nesmith and Galen Smith combined took 11/46 in the match. Haliburton was passing well and Held made some impressive plays, but overall the foursome were really struggling.
Missed from the bench were Isaiah Jackson and Andrew Nimbard, that set fumbled as well, and O’Shea Brissett and Joga Petadze had more shot attempts than points. Minnesota has deft size in every front court location, and has disrupted what Indiana wanted it to do.
“They came up with the idea that they wanted to have a lot of physical disposition and presence to start the game. They made it difficult for us defensively,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “Obviously we did a lot of things not very well,” he added, referring to the recoil and shooting problems.
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Two Pacers players shone despite the team’s outage – Benedict Mathurin and Miles Turner. Matherwin was the only Pacer to consistently reach the paint and score, finishing with 21 points on just 11 shot attempts. He reached the line several times and kept the Pacers in the game while the other guards struggled.
Meanwhile, Turner took control. He had his sixth-ever 30+ points, going down 31 points and grabbing seven rebounds. He added two assists, four steals, and one block. The veteran center rained seven three-point shots and forced Minnesota to adjust on defense. The Pacers only had a chance in this game because of the brilliance of Turner.
“I knew they were bigger. I wasn’t picking and showing as much this year… The seniors are having a hard time guarding me. I know I take advantage of where I am. The coach puts me in a good position to do that,” Turner said of his great night.
The Pacers’ highlight of the year was the amazing performance of the Pacers. He dunked on Jaden McDaniels in the fairway and gave his team plenty of momentum, giving them a chance to take the lead in the third quarter.
“There it is,” Turner said of that dunk and where it ranks in his career.
Despite Turner’s highlight and touching night, the Pacers couldn’t pull it off against the Timberwolves and fell 115-101. It was Indiana’s second loss in November and the biggest in about a month.
The Pacers are now 10-7 and entering a tough streak of rivals, including a seven-game road trip starting Sunday. A win in their next game – at home on Friday against the Brooklyn Nets – could be crucial for a team hoping to get some momentum going before hitting the road.
- Oshae Brissett puts up his best game of the season to help the Indiana Pacers beat the Toronto Raptors: “He’s doing it at a high level.” click here.
- Aaron Nesmith shows his growth with a night of action against the Orlando Magic. click here.
- Younger Indiana Pacers players benefit from the leadership of TJ McConnell. click here.
- Report: Los Angeles Clippers interested in Indiana Pacers center Miles Turner. click here.
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