Pacers stay hot, down tumbling Timberwolves
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - All five starters finished in double figures, led by David West with 22 points, and the Indiana Pacers cruised to a 111-88 victory over Minnesota at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Monday.
Danny Granger followed with 19 points, Paul George netted 18 and George Hill tallied 11. Roy Hibbert recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds while West added 10 boards for the Pacers, who have won five straight and remain in line for home-court advantage in the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
"We're coming out and trying to make the right play every single time and that's imperative for us," said West. "We want to continue the momentum we are starting to build and hopefully be playing some of our best ball in about a week and a half."
Indiana occupies the third spot in the East, three games in front of the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks.
J.J. Barea led Minnesota with 14 points and nine assists, while Michael Beasley and Derrick Williams poured in 13 points apiece as the Timberwolves continued to falter, dropping their 10th straight contest.
Indiana came out scorching to open the game, tallying 18 of the first 20 points as three-pointers from George and Granger helped the Pacers build an 18-2 lead by the midpoint of the first.
They lead by as many as 25 in the frame after a triple from Granger and held a 32-13 edge to start the second stanza.
The Pacers pushed the margin to 32 in the second after Granger, Hill and George buried treys on consecutive possessions to take a 55-23 advantage with 3:37 left in the second.
A 7-0 spurt late in the second had the difference at it's peak at 37 and the Pacers took a commanding 64-30 edge into the locker room.
"We didn't come out and play," admitted Minnesota head coach Rick Adelman. "We lost in the first half. I think we weren't ready to play."
West accounted for Indiana's first 12 points of the second half, and the Pacers' lead dropped below 30 only once in the third as they led 93-63 after three.
An 18-0 surge early in the fourth brought Minnesota as close as 14, but A.J. Price connected on a triple from the top of the arc to halt the run and the Pacers cruised the rest of the way for the victory.
Indiana will visit Philadelphia on Tuesday before playing out the final four games of the regular season at home...Minnesota will host Memphis on Tuesday...All-Star Kevin Love (concussion) missed his third straight contest for Minnesota...The Timberwolves' 10-game slid is their longest skid since losing a franchise-worst 18 straight from March 13-December 30, 2011.
04/16 23:20:46 ET