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Pacers 107, Timberwolves 91

The SportsXchange

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert is finally making up for a slow start to the season.

Hibbert scored a season-high 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting to go with 12 rebounds in the Pacers 107-91 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The victory allowed the Pacers to keep pace with the New York Knicks in the race to finish with the second best record in the Eastern Conference.

Swingman Paul George added 17 points for the Pacers. Point guard Ricky Rubio had 21 points, 10 assists and six rebounds for the Timberwolves.

The Pacers looked like they were going to blow the short-handed Timberwolves out of the gym early. They jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead and had plenty of energy behind them at the fieldhouse.

The Timberwolves may be short bodies, but they didn't quit. They're the same team that beat the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday.

The T-wolves kept chipping away and caused some uneasiness throughout the building.

But the Pacers kept going to Hibbert in the post.

He constantly took advantage of Greg Stiemsma and Chris Johnson in the post.

Hibbert is in the midst of his best basketball of the season.

He's averaged 14.8 points in the past nine games. He's shot at least 50 percent from the field in all but one of those games.

He's said a number of times that the $58-million contract signed last summer hasn't been the reason behind his struggles this season.

The Pacers led by as many as 16 points late in the third quarter, but the Timberwolves trimmed it down to six early in the fourth quarter before Pacers coach Frank Vogel went back to his starters to blow the game back open.

NOTES: Pacers small forward Danny Granger's path back into the lineup continues to hit road blocks. Granger, who has missed all but five games this season, will miss the next three games and then have his left knee re-evaluated. If cleared, Granger will then be allowed to resume his activities. It's uncertain when Granger will return to the lineup. ... Pacers coach Frank Vogel put his team through a two-hour film session, their longest of the season, before practice Monday, pinpointing every one of their mistakes in their 14-point loss at Miami on Sunday. ... After holding out that All-Star forward Kevin Love would be ready to return to practice, the Timberwolves learned Wednesday that his right hand still isn't completely healthy and he'll be re-evaluated in two to three weeks. ... Swingman Chase Budinger, out since early November with a left knee injury, has been cleared to return to practice. ... The Timberwolves were without Andrei Kirilenko (calf), Malcolm Lee (knee), Nikola Pekovic (abdominal strain) and Brandon Roy (knee).
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