NBA Game Summary - Indiana at Minnesota
(Friday, January 20th)
Final Score: Minnesota 90, Indiana 85
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Eddie Griffin had 17 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks as the Minnesota Timberwolves held off the Indiana Pacers, 90-85, at the Target Center.
Wally Szczerbiak tallied a game-high 20 points and Kevin Garnett added 17 points and eight boards for the Timberwolves, who have won four of five. Szczerbiak hit only 4-of-13 shots from the floor, but made all 12 of his free throws, as Minnesota nearly blew a 16-point second-half lead.
Fred Jones ended with 19 points but missed a potential game-tying three- pointer in the final seconds for Indiana, which again failed to string together consecutive wins. The Pacers have alternated wins and losses since capturing two straight January 5-8.
After trailing by as many as 16 points late in the third quarter, Indiana responded by cutting the deficit to 67-56 heading into the fourth.
The Pacers then kept pace with the Timberwolves throughout the fourth, slowly chipping away at the Minnesota lead.
A Sarunas Jasikevicius three-pointer with 34 seconds to go got the Pacers within 84-79.
Then, after two Marko Jaric free throws, Anthony Johnson drained a trey to make the score 86-82 with 18 ticks on the clock.
Szczerbiak then drained a pair from the line to extend the Timberwolves lead to 88-82, but Austin Croshere completed a three-point play with a free throw with 12 seconds left, making it a one possession game for the first time since the first quarter, 88-85.
Minnesota turned the ball over on its next possession, but Jones' three-point try with two seconds left fell short, hitting the front of the rim, and Griffin came down with the board and was fouled. He hit both from the line to secure the win.
"Bottom line is a win," said Szczerbiak. "We made it interesting. We didn't let the fans go home early.
"We have to figure out ways to close out games. When we get big leads we have to find ways to extend those leads, that what good teams do."
Croshere ended with 18 points and six boards for the Pacers, who played their third straight game without Jermaine O'Neal. The forward continues to recover from a sprained ankle.
Indiana briefly led at the beginning of the game, holding an 8-7 advantage with just four minutes gone. However, the Timberwolves answered with a 13-4 run to go ahead for good. Griffin scored six points during the surge, which was capped by a Jaric bucket near the 4 1/2-minute mark for a 20-12 advantage.
Minnesota extended its lead to 28-17 heading into the second and kept the Pacers at bay throughout the stanza to go into halftime with a 46-37 cushion.
In the third, the Timberwolves extended to a 16-point lead, 65-49, following a Trenton Hassell bucket with three minutes to go in the frame.
"They came out and played well in the first quarter," said Jones. "We struggled the last few games in the first quarter and we have to change that to win games."
Jaric finished with 13 points and 10 boards and Hassell had 10 points and six assists.
Stephen Jackson was held to just 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting...Johnson and David Harrison each had 10 points for the Pacers...Indiana fell to 9-12 on the road...Minnesota improved to 13-6 at home...This was the first meeting of the season between these two clubs...The Pacers won both matchups last year...Minnesota defeated Indiana for just the third time in 10 tries.
01/20 23:29:36 ET