NBA Game Summary - Minnesota at Indiana
(Friday, April 14th)
Final Score: Indiana 89, Minnesota 77
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Jermaine O'Neal scored a game-high 29 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as the Indiana Pacers inched closer to securing a playoff berth with an 89-77 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Stephen Jackson notched 17 points and dished out four assists while Austin Croshere and Peja Stojakovic scored 11 points each for the Pacers, who have won three straight games.
With Washington's loss to Chicago, Indiana is in a three-way tie with the Wizards and Milwaukee Bucks for the fifth-seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and can clinch a playoff berth with either a win over Charlotte or a 76ers loss to Orlando on Saturday.
Eddie Griffin paced Minnesota with 18 points and 12 boards and Marcus Banks added 15 for the Timberwolves, who have lost two of their last three games. Mark Blount tossed in 12 points for Minnesota.
Up by eight in the fourth quarter, Indiana later pushed its lead to 12 after a dunk from O'Neal with 6:54 left in the game. Two free throws from Griffin with 3:08 left pulled the Timberwolves within eight at 83-75, but a dunk, layup and finger-roll from O'Neal on three consecutive possessions pushed the Pacers' lead to 89-75 en route to the win.
Down 14-10 midway through the first quarter, Indiana outscored Minnesota 18-4 through the rest of the stanza to take a 28-18 lead into the second quarter. Indiana began the burst by reeling off 11 unanswered points that started with an O'Neal slam and ended with a reverse layup from Danny Granger to take a 21-14 lead en route to the 10-point cushion heading into the second frame.
A Ronald Dupree layup with 7:15 left in the first half pulled the Timberwolves within three at 32-29 and a Banks jumper later in the stanza tied the game at 38-38. Things remained tight throughout the rest of the half as Indiana took a 49-45 lead into the break.
A Blount layup midway through the third quarter pulled Minnesota within one at 58-57, but Indiana systematically rebuilt its lead, which ballooned to nine at 71-62, after two free throws from Jackson with 37 seconds left in the frame.
Minnesota was down 73-65 entering the fourth quarter.
The Pacers have won four straight at home and own a 26-14 record as the host this season...The Timberwolves have a 9-32 mark away from the Target Center this season...Friday's game was the second and final meeting of the season between Minnesota and Indiana. The Timberwolves posted a 90-85 win on January 20, but Indiana has won seven of the last nine meetings...Minnesota has lost four straight and 11 of its last 12 at Indiana.
04/14 22:58:55 ET