3 Things to Like and Dislike From Pacers' Win Against Timberwolves
The Indiana Pacers used overtime to defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday with 134-128 being the final score. This victory came after losing in overtime to the Chicago Bulls on Monday.
Both teams produced hot offensive results during the first half of this game. The Timberwolves put 73 points on the board to hold a halftime lead, but the Pacers weren't far behind as they managed to score 69 points of their own.
Neither team managed to reach even 20 points in the third quarter and then each team held a five-point lead at some point in the fourth period. Ultimately, the Pacers forced overtime and pulled away from the Timberwolves to win.
Here are three things to like and dislike from Wednesday's victory:
LIKE: Domantas Sabonis Makes History
It's no secret the Timberwolves are a terrible defensive team and that Karl-Anthony Towns is less-than-stellar in that regard, too. Domantas Sabonis took full advantage of this.
Sabonis finished his performance with an incredible 36 points, 17 rebounds, 10 assists, and 3 steals. He was particularly impressive when the Pacers needed him to elevate the offense in overtime as he scored 5 of his points then.
With another triple-double outing, Sabonis set a new franchise record for most of those performances. He also became the first player in team history with a 30/15/10 stat-line in a single game.
DISLIKE: Doug McDermott's Impact
After a one-game absence, Doug McDermott made his return to the Pacers' lineup but didn't bring his usual impact. He finished with 10 points on 4-of-10 (40.0%) from the field and went empty on a pair of three-point attempts.
When McDermott was on the floor, the Pacers produced just a 91.7 offensive rating, 113.8 defensive rating, and -22.1 net rating. The eye-test would suggest that Indiana struggled to achieve much success with him on the floor, too.
McDermott will surely find his rhythm and get back to his previous form at some point. His lack of defensive impact makes it difficult to provide positive contributions if he's also struggling to make his presence felt offensively.
LIKE: Myles Turner Also Makes History
The impact that Myles Turner has provided the Pacers' defense with his shot blocking ability has been nothing short of impressive. He's emerged as a genuinely elite defender and will be a real threat to win Defensive Player of the Year.
Turner's performance against the Timberwolves was yet another showcase as to why that's the case. He finished with 4 blocks in this outing and surpassed 800 career blocks in the process.
No player in Pacers history managed to reach 800 career blocks at a younger age than Turner. He's well on his way to break the all-time record in team history for blocks if he doesn't get traded.
DISLIKE: Defensive Execution in First Half
The Pacers put together a strong opening half in terms of offensive execution. Putting up 69 points as a team within that stretch but due to their shortcomings on defense, Indiana still trailed at halftime.
The Timberwolves had no issue getting what they wanted offensively in the first two quarters. Minnesota scored a staggering 73 points and went 25-of-52 (48.1%) from the field, 9-of-16 (56.3%) on three-pointers, and 14-of-15 (93.3%) on free throws.
There were far too many strong individual scoring performance for Minnesota. Allowing Naz Reid to put up 14 points on the board is inexcusable. Especially when that's in addition to giving up double-figures scoring from Malik Beasley (15), Karl-Anthony Towns (14), and Ricky Rubio (10).
LIKE: Malcolm Brogdon Steps Up
It has been a rough recent stretch for Malcolm Brogdon in terms of his execution as a scorer. His efficiency had declined significant since his impressive month of January but that wasn't the case against the Timberwolves.
Brogdon managed to finish his outing with 32 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists.It was intriguing to see him make the Timberwolves pay for going under screens by going 6-of-7 (85.7%) from beyond the arc.
The Pacers will be unable to win consistently unless Brogdon and Sabonis can continue to play at a high-level. When they struggle to execute, Indiana just doesn't have enough offensive firepower.
DISLIKE: Needing OT Against Bad Team
No game is ever guaranteed to be a win in sports and a team should appreciate any win no matter how ugly. However, needing to go to overtime in order to defeat the team with the worst record in the league is less than ideal.
There were a variety of areas where the Pacers could have been better in this game. Perhaps they could have won if they managed to have greater defensive execution in the first half or didn't have a completely flat offense after halftime.
The Pacers will need to start stringing together some quality wins to build momentum and manage to compete with some of the NBA's top teams. Indiana has lost three of their previous 10 games despite getting this victory.