Remember, in Bankers Life, the Pacers usually resemble a playoff team. Tonight, they began the game passing well, attacking the basket, finding open shots (sometimes so open they air-balled two in the first quarter), and clamping down defensively. They looked good, and Paul George made sure Andrew Wiggins looked bad (2-9 for five points in the first half with two turnovers)—again. PG put up 25 and it looked easy. But, we know the story: the Pacers bench just cannot hold leads most nights, especially now with injuries to Albus and Stuckey affecting rotations, so a Minnesota comeback was inevitable. The Wolves ended the half up two.
In the second half, the starters would have to create separation. Unfortunately, they wanted to talk, but they forgot about Dieng, who with a three put the Wolves up nine with five to go in the third. After a Pacers timeout, the team locked in, and a 12-0 run had the Pacers humming: PG and Teague took over, making strong moves around the basket and sharp passes to it.
In the fourth, the Wolves attacked the Pacers bench, like any smart team would, and with nine minutes to go, Nate had no choice but to bring Teague back into the game with the Pacers up two. They pushed the lead to nine. PG put up 37 and had four steals. Teague dropped 20 and 10. Despite KAT’s huge numbers (37 points ), the Pacers should have won this game. But, Ricky Rubio had a chance to steal it, getting fouled behind the arc with the Wolves down two. Fans everywhere will have trouble accepting that call for awhile. He made all three. Wolves squeak out a win: Pacers one less point than the Wolves.