INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The short-handed Indiana Pacers overcame the absence of two keys players — and Minnesota star Karl-Anthony Towns’ fast start.
Bojan Bogdanovic scored a season-high 35 points and Pacers beat the Timberwolves 122-115 on Thursday night. Towns had 42 points and 17 rebounds, scoring 23 points and grabbing seven rebounds in the first quarter.
Indiana played without Domantas Sabonis (sprained left ankle), and Tyreke Evans (food poisoning).
“All we need is (who) we’ve got in this (locker) room,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “We’ve been adapting, really, all season long with guys being out. Losing Victor early in the season, losing him later in the season for the year … Our coaches do a good job of keeping guys ready to play, and they’ve been able to step in win games. We’re still trying to establish who we are.”
With the game tied at 107 with less than four minutes remaining, Bogdanovic drove for the go-ahead layup. Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins then missed two free throws on the next possession, and Bogdanovic extended the Pacers lead on the other end of the floor with a wide-open 3-pointer. The Pacers closed with a 15-8 run, with Bogdanovic scoring 11 points.
“It shows how resilient we are, how strong we are mentally,” Bogdanovic said. “We were short-handed without Domantas, then our big (men) early on get into foul trouble. But we did a great job at the beginning of the second quarter. Again, great effort, great team defense.”
TJ Leaf added a career-high 18 points for Indiana. The Pacers overcame an early 12-point deficit and led 64-60 at halftime.
“It’s rough. I mean, it’s not easy to win in the NBA. And we didn’t do the things we needed to do to win and execute in the end,” Towns said. “We just got to be better on the defensive end. We had too many miscues and it cost us.”
Timberwolves: Towns had his 52nd 30-plus point game and the 15th of the season. He has had 30 or more in three straight games. … Minnesota is 4-23 when trailing after three quarters, and 41-12 when leading or tied after three.
Pacers: Indiana is 9-3 on the second night of a back-to-back and 7-0 when the second game is at home. … Myles Turner has made at least one 3-pointer in each of his last eight games.
Timberwolves: At Washington on Sunday night.
Pacers: Hosts Orlando on Saturday night.