Pacers 98, Timberwolves 84

Cliff Brunt, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

INDIANAPOLIS -- Guard George Hill scored a season-high 26 points to help the Indiana Pacers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 98-84 on Monday night.
Forward Paul George also scored 26 points and forward David West added 13 points for the Pacers (13-1), who won their fourth straight and improved on their franchise-best start.
Minnesota forward Kevin Love had 20 points and 17 rebounds, but he made just 6 of 20 field goals. Guard Kevin Martin scored 18 points and center Nikola Pekovic had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves (8-8), who got off to a fast start this season but now have lost four of five.
The Pacers got the best of the battle of wills. Indiana entered the game leading the league in scoring defense and field-goal percentage defense while the Timberwolves were third in scoring. Minnesota had season lows in points and field goal percentage (.326).
The Pacers shot 50 percent from the field in the first half but led just 48-46. Hill scored 18 points while Love had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Guard Lance Stephenson was scoreless in the first half, but he scored six points early in the third quarter to help the Pacers take a 58-52 lead.
Minnesota rallied and took the lead on free throws by Martin. George drove and was fouled, and the call drew a standing ovation from a frustrated home crowd that had seen a large disparity in foul calls and free throw attempts in Minnesota's favor up to that point.
George made both free throws, then he got into the open court after a steal and threw down a wicked cradle dunk. Shortly thereafter, he hit West with a behind-the-back pass for an assist and a 71-66 lead. The Pacers led 73-68 at the end of the period.
George opened the fourth quarter with a baseline dunk then scored on a floater to expand the lead to nine.
Minnesota went scoreless for the first 4 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter, but when the Timberwolves finally scored, George answered with a 3-pointer. Center Ian Mahinmi followed with a three-point play to give Indiana an 85-70 lead and the Pacers cruised from there.
NOTES: Minnesota F Robbie Hummel played college ball at nearby Purdue. He entered the game in the first quarter and drew cheers. ... Pacers F Danny Granger still hasn't played this season. He has a strained left calf, and the team is being cautious with him. ... The Pacers entered the day as the only team in the league holding opponents under 40 percent shooting. ... Indiana coach Frank Vogel was issued a technical foul in the second quarter for arguing with officials following what he considered a flop by Timberwolves F Dante Cunningham.

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