Playback: Pacers 115, Timberwolves 121

Wednesday, December 7 at 8:00 p.m. ET at the Target Center

game recap

There was plenty of drama in the first six games of the Indiana Pacers’ seven-game road trip, so it was no surprise that the final leg of the away game was no different.

The Pacers (13-12) trailed by 23 points in the second quarter, led by eight points in the third quarter, and leveled the game again with a 3-pointer with 50 seconds left in the game, but couldn’t overcome the Minnesota Timberwolves (13th-13th). -12) on the final stretch with a 121-115 loss at Target Center.

After Pacers center Myles Turner hit his third 3-pointer in the last frame to level the game at 115, the Timberwolves sunk four straight free throws and added a dunk with 3 seconds left to secure the win over the Pacers of the season. Indiana has now lost to Minnesota four straight times dating back to last season.

“There are a lot of positives, but this isn’t Peter Pan or Alice in Wonderland,” said Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle. “This is NBA basketball and we have to face realities. We have to face the realities of our poor starts and just accept the challenge as a group.”

During their longest road trip of the season, the Pacers went 2-5.

Pacers star point guard Tyrese Haliburton finished with 26 points and 15 assists, while Buddy Hield also had 26 for Blue & Gold but had 3-pointers with seven.

D’Angelo Russell led the Timberwolves by 28 points and had 15 points in the fourth quarter. Anthony Edwards had 26 points overall while adding eight rebounds, eight assists and six steals, and three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert had 16 points and 21 rebounds.

As in Game 1, the Pacers were dominated in the paint by the Timberwolves as they were outplayed 64-36 on the inside while also being passed 51-31. The Pacers shot 48 percent from the field to the Timberwolves’ 47 percent.

The first and second quarters were polar opposites for the Pacers.

After trailing 35-17 at the end of 12 minutes, the Pacers outplayed the Timberwolves 44-28 in the second quarter to go 63-61 at halftime.

The Pacers shot 13-20 (7-11, 3-point range) in the second quarter after making just 28.6 percent of their shots in the opening frame.

Indiana trailed by as much as 19 points in the first quarter — the biggest deficit the team had in an opening frame this season.

The Timberwolves went to a 12-3 advantage midway through the opening quarter when the Pacers missed six of their first seven shots and turned the ball twice.

An and-one conversion from Haliburton stopped the Blue & Gold bleed, but the Timberwolves responded with a 3-point point from Jaylen Nowell and a layup from Edwards to go 19-6 in the first quarter with 5:30 left to take the lead, resulting in a Pacers timeout.

While the Pacers got some offense out of the mini-break when rookie Bennedict Mathurin came off the bench and scored six points, Edwards dazzled in the last 5:10 of the quarter and scored nine of his then-game best 14 points.

At the end of the first quarter, the Pacers, trailing 35:17, had turned the ball around eight times and were overtaken 15:6.

Minnesota led by at least 20 points in the second quarter after scoring five quick points in the first minute until two 3-pointers from Hield and a three-pointer from Turner reduced the Timberwolves’ lead to 49-33 with 7:38 at the half .

From 6:29 to 5:58, the Pacers had seven unanswered points, topped by Hield’s fourth 3-pointer of the game to go into a Timberwolves timeout at 51:40.

After a 7-0 run, Aaron Nesmith made a layup for the Pacers with 3 seconds left to make it a one possession game.

Both Hield and Edwards had 16 points at the break.

The teams traded the lead twice before an 11-3 Pacers run – with two 3s from Haliburton and a Trey from Hield – gave the Pacers a 75-67 lead four minutes into the third quarter.

Indiana then led until the Timberwolves scored seven unanswered points in the final two minutes – topped by a buzzer-battering 10-foot jump from Jordan McLaughlin – to tie the game at 90 before the final frame.

The Timberwolves capitalized on an 11-2 seven-point run from Russell to lead 105-96 midway through the fourth quarter.

It turned into a 3-point contest over the next five minutes as the Pacers hit four threes and Russell hit a pair of threes to keep his team 1:02 into the game, 115-112.

After Turner’s game-changing 3-pointer, a key stop came from a Gobert block on a holdd layup attempt. From there, the Timberwolves ruled it out.

Prior to the matchup with the Timberwolves, the Pacers had a much healthier roster compared to Monday at the Golden State when four of the six Indiana players who faced the Warriors returned to active status, including Haliburton, Turner, TJ McConnell and James Johnson .

The Timberwolves were missing a key player in All-Star forward Karl Anthony-Towns, who is out with a calf injury.

Indiana starts Friday with a four-game homestand against the Washington Wizards. The Wizards, without star Bradley Beal through injury, beat the Pacers 114-107 on Oct. 19.

In the numbers

The Pacers are 10-1 if they shoot better than their opponent in a game this season.

After going 18-24 from the free throw line in the first half, the Pacers made no attempt to shoot at the charity streak in the second half.

The Pacers bench, which ranks third at 41.8 points per game, was outplayed by the Timberwolves reserves, 32-24

Haliburton has surpassed 15 assists in a game seven times in his career, including three times this season.

Hield has now hit seven 3-pointers twice this season, the other time on Oct. 26 against the Chicago Bulls. The franchise record for 3-pointers in a single game is nine, shared by Paul George (2012) and TJ Warren (2020). Hield’s personal high is 11 and he was set in 2019 as a member of the Sacramento Kings.

Haliburton notched his 14th double-double of the season against the Timberwolves, the most by any guard in the NBA.

The Pacers are 6-2 when Hield hits five or more 3-pointers in a game.

You can quote me on this

“We have great boys. They go hard, love to play and love to play with each other. I’ve had many different teams over the years. This team is as personable a group of guys and as lovable a group of guys to coach as I’ve ever had. And I also had a championship team. We have great boys. It’s a pleasure every day and I think our fans see that – they see the joy our boys play with and it’s something that’s captured the imagination of a lot of people in the league this year.” – Carlisle via the coaching of this year’s team

“We have to be meaner to start games. That’s just a fact.” – Carlisle on the slow starts

“I don’t know if I’ve seen a player like (Haliburton). That’s one of the things that makes him special – he’s just being himself. He’s the first Tyrese Haliburton. He’s not really a clone of anyone. He’s a great young player and leader and is learning a lot about the responsibility that comes with it.” – Carlisle on Haliburton’s strong start to the season

“I think the most important thing we’ve learned is that we have to stick with who we are. I think who we are is a hard playing team, cohesive, playing with energy and physicality on both sides of the floor. I think that’s exactly what we need to stick to.” – Nembhard on lessons learned from the long road trip

“I was just trying to find open spots and use my 3 point ability to help my teammates score points too.” – Hield on his strong night of shooting

“We are a young team. With a young team you have this fighting spirit. I think we built on that. … That will be important against these better teams.” – Turner

state of the night

In the second quarter, the Pacers shot 65 percent from the field (13 on 20), 63 percent from 3 points (7 on 11), and 84 percent from the free throw (11 on 13) to outscore the Timberwolves 44-28 from 23 points behind early in the frame.


  • Pacers forward Oshae Brissett is 14 points away from reaching 1,000 for his career.
  • Jalen Smith, who played in each of the first 24 games this season, was a late scrap for the Pacers due to a sore right knee. Chris Duarte has missed 16 games in a row with a sprained ankle and Daniel Theis is yet to make his Blue & Gold debut after knee surgery.
  • The seven-game road trip was the longest for the Pacers since the 1985-1986 season.


The Pacers return to Indiana on Friday, December 9 at 7:00 p.m. ET to host Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Find tickets >>

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