Minnesota had other problems, too.
The NBA's best defensive team essentially turned the high-scoring Timberwolves into a three-man show. Kevin Love finished with 20 points and 17 rebounds, Nikola Pekovic had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Kevin Martin added 18 points. Minnesota's other five players combined for 28 points and 19 rebounds — not nearly enough to turn back the white hot Pacers.
What happened? Minnesota shot 32.6 percent from the field, was 3 of 19 on 3-pointers, had 19 turnovers and went 8½ minutes without a basket.
"We shot the ball poorly, plain and simple, and you are not going to win that many games doing that," Love said. "We knew it was going to be a physical game and we tried to be physical right back. Then they went on that one run and were able to keep their distance."
Playing short-handed didn't help.
Chase Budinger missed the game with a left knee injury, Shabazz Muhammad sat out with a sprained right ankle and Ronny Turiaf missed the game with a right elbow injury. Derrick Williams, the former No. 2 overall draft pick, also did not play as trade rumors swirled. During the game, word leaked that Minnesota agreed to send Williams to Sacramento for Luc Mbah a Moute — coach Rick Adelman said after the game that he wasn't aware of a deal.
But the bigger problem was containing the one-two punch of Hill and George.
Hill's fast start helped Indiana take the 14-point lead midway through the first quarter and forced the Timberwolves to spend the rest of the night playing catch-up.
Minnesota didn't tie the score again until Pekovic hit two free throws with 4:53 left in the third quarter. Minnesota then took the lead twice for a total of 22 seconds, the second time coming when Kevin Martin made three throws to give the Timberwolves a 66-65 edge with 3:09 left in the quarter.