Even without Myles Turner, the Indiana Pacers (2-2) put on an offensive clinic on Tuesday night in Minnesota, rolling to a 130-107 win over the Timberwolves (2-2).
The Pacers set a franchise record by shooting 66.7 percent from the field in the victory, surpassing the previous mark of .653 set on Jan. 5, 1987 in a win at Dallas.
Indiana’s guards led the attack on Tuesday. Victor Oladipo scored a team-high 28 points, Darren Collison tallied a double-double with 15 points and 16 assists, and Cory Joseph knocked down five 3-pointers en route to 21 points off the bench.
“You move the ball as they did tonight (and) guys are going to have wide-open looks,” Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said after the record-setting win. “No one was really holding the ball. We (were) getting the ball out to the open guy and then it’s like how you practice, catch and shoot.
“We took a lot of open shots tonight.”
Domantas Sabonis added his second double-double in as many games, finishing with 15 points on 7-of-7 shooting, 11 rebounds, and five assists.
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The Pacers got off to a fantastic start, hitting 14 of their first 18 shots and opening up a 28-12 lead. Bojan Bogdanovic and Oladipo were especially good during the opening minutes, combining for 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting to help the visitors secure an early advantage.
The Blue & Gold took a 13-point lead into the second quarter, but the T-Wolves charged back, reeling off a 17-5 run that ended with back-to-back dunks by Shabazz Muhammad to tie the game at 42.
McMillan responded by calling timeout and the Pacers quickly righted the ship, responding with an 8-0 run of their own that started with a Joseph 3-pointer and then finished with two straight jumpers from Oladipo.
Shortly thereafter, Minnesota reeled off nine unanswered points to take its first lead of the evening. The two teams then traded the lead in the final minutes of the half before Al Jefferson’s buzzer-beating tip-in tied the game at 61 heading into the break.
Oladipo and Karl-Anthony Towns traded baskets for the early part of the third quarter, but it was Collison that sparked Indiana’s biggest run of the game in the latter half of the frame.
The veteran point guard dished out six assists as Indiana outscored Minnesota 24-5 over the last 7:23 of the quarter, allowing the visitors to take a 98-84 lead into the fourth quarter.
“Guys actually want the other guy to do well,” Collison said of the feeling on the Pacers’ bench. “The chemistry has been amazing, but the biggest thing is we still have got to have that feistiness.”
The Pacers kept their foot on the gas pedal in the final period, opening the quarter with a 14-5 spurt to push the margin to 23.
The Timberwolves never seriously threatened the rest of the way, as the Pacers cruised to their first road win of the season.
Both teams were without a key player on Tuesday, though only Minnesota’s absent star was a late development. Turner missed his third consecutive game with a concussion, while Timberwolves forward Jimmy Butler was a late scratch from the lineup due to an upper respiratory infection.
Six Pacers players scored in double figures in the victory. Bogdanovic had a season-high 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting, while rookie forward TJ Leaf added 11 points off the bench.
“I think the key was we just moved the ball as a team and everyone made the right read,” Sabonis said. “Extra pass, extra pass and knocked that shot down in confidence.”
Towns led the Timberwolves with 28 points on 12-of-17 shooting and seven rebounds. Jamal Crawford added 18 points and nine assists off the bench in the loss.
The Pacers will not have long to rest on their laurels, however, as they close out a three-game road trip against Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night on the second half of a back-to-back.
Inside the Numbers
Collison’s double-double was his second in four games this season. He had 21 points and 11 assists in a season-opening win over Brooklyn.
Sabonis’ two double-doubles in four games already matches his total in 81 games as a rookie last season with the Thunder.
In his second stint with the Pacers, this was the first time Collison had 15 or more assists in a game for Indiana. The last Pacers player to do it was Jeff Teague (now a member of the Timberwolves), who did it three times last season. Before Teague, it hadn’t been done since Jamaal Tinsley on Feb. 11, 2007.
Indiana outrebounded Minnesota 42-27 on the evening, though the Timberwolves had a slight 9-8 edge on the offensive glass.
The Pacers racked up a season-high 31 assists in the victory. They had just 33 assists over their last two games, losses to Portland and Miami.
The Pacers held Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins, who was averaging 24.7 points through his first three games, to just seven points on 3-of-9 shooting on Tuesday.
You Can Quote Me On That
“We had a really good practice yesterday and that transferred into the game tonight. Just great ball movement. I thought our guards did a good job of establishing the tempo. Darren did a nice job of establishing that tempo both offensively and defensively.” -McMillan
“I thought we had a good practice yesterday and it did carry over. Defensively, we were much better than we were the first couple games.” -Collison
“I think we did a good job playing collective defense, moving the ball and a lot of guys contributed today. It was a great team win for us.” -Oladipo
“Jimmy (Butler) is a big key, but no excuses. There are going to be days when guys don’t play and other guys have to step up.” -Wiggins
“They got too many transition points and they were just hitting shots tonight, you have to give credit where credit is due. Transition I thought we could have been better, but man they were hitting some difficult shots tonight” -Towns
Stat of the Night
Not only was the Pacers’ .667 field-goal percentage a franchise record, it was a feat that had only previously happened six other times this century. The last occasion was when the Miami Heat converted 68.4 percent of their shots in a win over Brooklyn on March 5, 2016.
- The Pacers improved to 36-19 in the all-time series with the Timberwolves, including a 15-13 record in games played in Minnesota.
- Indiana has now won in its lone visit to the Target Center in each of the past four seasons.
- Teague finished with just two points on 1-of-7 shooting and seven assists in his first game against his former team.
The Pacers travel to Oklahoma City for their first meeting with former Pacers All-Star Paul George — who was traded to the Thunder this summer for Oladipo and Sabonis — on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 8:00 PM ET.
The Pacers return from their three-game road trip to face LaMarcus Aldridge and the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, Oct. 29 at 4:30 PM ET. Find Tickets »