By all accounts, this was a winnable game. Indiana, playing the second half of a back to back, was shorthanded and exhausted. Without their all-star Paul George, as well as starting point guard George Hill, Indiana had to make due with a patchwork starting lineup that included the likes of Solomon Hill, CJ Watson, and Rodney Stuckey.
Minnesota had their chances but struggled to capitalize, especially early on. Minnesota held the Pacers to a mere 20 points in the first quarter, but were only able to score 17 themselves. The second quarter wasn’t any better, and Minnesota found themselves in a 14 point hole at the half.
The game was marred with sloppy ball handling, questionable decision making, and horrific sequences of basketball that would make a grown man cry. There were passes off of teammates backs, missed assignments on defense, and plenty of airballs. At times, it looked as if both teams were playing drunk.
Incredulously, Minnesota woke up in the second half, and even took the lead for a brief stint late in the fourth. The Wolves were able to overcome what was a 19 point deficit and turn it into a 92-91 lead with 2:17 left.
The comeback effort was led by two men, Shabazz Muhammad and Mo Williams. The duo scored 29 of the Wolves 58 second half points, giving Minnesota the opportunity it needed to pull out a much needed win.
As soon as Minnesota took the lead, Indiana answered. Minnesota had the lead just twice in the fourth, for a total of 36 seconds. In the final two minutes, Pacer guard CJ Miles scored 7 of Indiana’s final 9 points, swishing a contested 26 foot three and going 4-4 from the line, sealing the win.
The loss drops Minnesota to a dismal 5-21, and the schedule may not be getting any easier, but there is still one thing we can all look forward to: The return of Ricky Rubio.
Save us Ricky. You’re our only hope.