Timberwolves 78, Pacers 71: 'Tis the Season for Giving Away Ws
The Pacers scored 32 first quarter points and led by as many as 16 before shutting down for the holidays, scoring only 39 points over the final three quarters and giving the T'Wolves a 78-71 win. Give Minny credit for hanging in there and riding KG to a big comeback, but there was nothing impressive here from either team. Ugh, this game was painful to watch.
Several times this year, the Pacers have started out slow in the first quarter and then rallied to win. This has been considered a problem area. Well, they flipped the script completely tonight and left me longing for the slow start formula. With the big early lead, it appeared all of the Pacers figured they could ease it on into the off days and let someone else finish the game off. Unfortunately, when EVERYBODY does that, there's no one left to actually finish the game off.
Eight third quarter points and 21 in the second half?!?!? There appeared to be no sense of urgency to win a third straight game and keep the positive momentum going in the suddenly tough Central Division. Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, and Milwaukee all won tonight making this W donation sting even more.
Minnesota won't be using much of this game film in the '06-'07 highlights DVD. Mark Madsen captured the quality of play with a airball from the line that broke everyone up. In the final three minutes of the game, Minny had a five point lead. There were at least ten scoreless possessions between the two teams and several of those possessions never came close to delivering a score. I mean, the game was in the balance and no one can make a play. In hindsight, it was the perfect finish for this game.
The Pacers have a couple of days off before hosting the Houston Rockets. Yao Ming went down tonight with a knee injury. It sure looked bad but the extent of the injury in not known yet. Tracy McGrady has missed several games with back spasm so he may be out, as well. I'd almost prefer if both players were healthy and ready to go just so they'd get the Pacers full attention. But, then again, I'm just a cynical pile of goo right now after enduring that game tonight.
UPDATE: Yao's knee will keep him out six weeks so the Pacers will deinitely miss him on Tuesday.
(Photo: AP Photo/AJ Mast)