Post-Game Grades: Pacers make baskets, so many baskets, in win over Timberwolves


The Pacers put forth an amazing win on the road against the Timberwolves Tuesday night. Even more impressive, they did it without Myles Turner.

86. 130. 100. Final. 107

The Indiana Pacers, despite all motivations to tank this year, are now 2-2 after what was easily their best performance of the season tonight against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Minnesota was without Jimmy Butler, and it showed on the defensive end. The Pacers took advantage of this to the tune of 67% shooting on the night — a franchise record. If that wasn’t enough for you, they shot a whopping 77% (!!!!!!!!!) from the field in the second half; the team was so dominant that towards the end of the game the fans at the Target Center began booing their hometown Wolves.

On their third straight game without Myles Turner, the team finally was able to put the pieces together to pull out a win without the star. Now .500 for the year, they’ll have to immediately fly down to Oklahoma City to take on a tough Thunder team on the road- not to mention face Paul George for the first time since he was traded during the offseason.

The Good: As far as the offense goes, there’s almost nothing that isn’t good to say about tonight’s performance. Record-breaking shooting, free-flowing ball movement, a monster assist game from Darren Collison — the Pacers really put it all together tonight. Despite multiple comebacks throughout the game from the Timberwolves, the Pacers never eased up on the gas and found themselves with a blowout win by the time the final buzzer sounded.

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The Bad: It was a great game. It’s hard to pick at the negatives, but… this team is still garbage defensively. After an amazing first quarter holding Minnesota to 20 points, Indiana turned around and gave up 41 in the second quarter. Karl-Anthony Towns went off (as expected), and old-man Jamal Crawford was lighting the Pacers up from deep. This team knew it’d have defensive holes, and that’s cemented even more by the absence of Turner, but it has to find a way to improve on that end of the floor. They will probably never have an offensive game like this again this year- they can’t keep letting opposing offenses run all over them.

MVP: Honorable mention to Victor Oladipo for his electric night scoring, but tonight’s MVP trophy has to go to Collison. Pacers fans aren’t used to seeing their point guard go off for 16 assists, and with 15 points and only one turnover to boot, DC was the most crucial part of the offense’s success tonight. (Let’s give him a pass for tonight, but eventually, he’s gotta put forth effort on the defensive end as well).

LVP: The Timberwolves defense without Butler. That was just disgusting. Luckily, the Pacers took advantage. If the team is serious about winning games this year, they can’t miss any opportunities like the one given to them tonight with the absence of Butler.

X-Factor: Cory Joseph. He came off the bench for major minutes tonight, and his 3-point shooting kept the team in the game as they were stagnating in the second quarter. His consistent scoring was able to keep the team afloat when the Wolves kept coming back, and without him, there might’ve been a serious deficit for the Pacers going into the second half.

SG. Indiana Pacers. VICTOR OLADIPO. A+. Amazing game from Oladipo. He was aggressive, hit some threes, and like the rest of this Pacers team, couldn’t miss a shot all night. 28 points in 28 minutes is golden.

B-. He went a bit under the radar during a night of shooting barrages, but still put up a decent contribution to the team tonight on both ends.. PF. Indiana Pacers. THADDEUS YOUNG

LANCE STEPHENSON. D. Easily the worst player for the Pacers tonight. His inability to score killed the offense in the second quarter, causing the Wolves to come all the way back from their original 14-point deficit. Not good.. SG. Indiana Pacers

A. Bogdanovic was everywhere tonight, and hitting shots from anywhere on the court. A key part of the lights-out shooting performance for the Pacers. 19 points.. SF. Indiana Pacers. BOJAN BOGDANOVIC

DARREN COLLISON. A+. The man of the hour. 15 points and 16 assist games don’t come around often, and probably won’t come around again for a long time in Indiana. Appreciate it while we have it.. PG. Indiana Pacers

Indiana Pacers. DOMANTAS SABONIS. A. Another solid night from the big man, who has held his own at the 5-spot in Turner’s absence. 15 points and 10 boards on 7-7 isn’t too shabby, although KAT (expectedly) bullied him on the other end of the floor all night.. PF/C

A. Quite a game off of the bench for Joseph, whose 3-point shooting kept the team alive during stretches of bad offense. 8 of his 21 points came in garbage time, but whatever. It was a great night for him.. PG. Indiana Pacers. CORY JOSEPH

More of the same from T.J. Leaf: good offense, bad defense. Luckily for him, the offense from him (and the whole squad) was so good that the defense didn’t matter all that much.. PF. Indiana Pacers. TJ LEAF. B

C+. Al Jefferson got bullied by KAT whenever he stepped on the floor, but he did pick up a few points tonight and wasn’t an overall negative to the team. It would have been interesting to see how Ike Anigbogu would’ve handled Towns, though Nate McMillan had other ideas.. C. Indiana Pacers. AL JEFFERSON