Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 11/2

Game 1: Saturday, November 2nd
Game 2: Saturday, November 16th

Pacers 87

(2-1, 2-0 home)

    Coverage: FSMW

    7:00 PM ET, November 2, 2002

    Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIN 24 20 18 1880
    IND 17 26 23 2187

    Top Performers

    Minnesota: R. Nesterovic 12 Pts, 7 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Blk

    Indiana: B. Miller 22 Pts, 16 Reb, 5 Ast, 4 Blk

    Pacers dominate T-Wolves inside

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Brad Miller approaches the glass with only one mission: Grab every rebound. What he didn't get against Minnesota, his teammates did.

    Jonathan Bender

    Indiana's Jonathan Bender comes over the top to block a shot by Minnesota's Rod Strickland.

    Miller scored 22 points and tied a career high with 16 rebounds and Jermaine O'Neal had 21 points and 14 rebounds as the Indiana Pacers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 87-80 Saturday night.

    Jonathan Bender added 15 points and 11 rebounds and Ron Artest had 14 points for the Pacers, who bounced back from a defeat against New Jersey on Friday.

    O'Neal, Miller and Bender -- all more than 7 feet -- helped the Pacers to a 56-42 rebounding advantage. Indiana, scoring mostly on second-chance opportunities, had 20 offensive rebounds to Minnesota's 14.

    ''We've got enough athletes where rebounding is going to carry us this season,'' Miller said. ''One of my goals is to snatch every rebound. I want to go out and hit the boards hard. When you can get that many offensive rebounds, it just wears on the other team. They start to bicker at each other.''

    Miller had only 14 points and 17 rebounds in Indiana's first two games.

    Both teams shot below 38 percent, including Indiana at 27 percent in the first period and Minnesota at 24 in the third.

    Minnesota, playing without three injured starters, failed to get any offensive consistency from its big men. A day after posting a triple-double and shutting down Orlando's Tracy McGrady, Kevin Garnett was held in check. He scored 12 points -- on 4-for-16 shooting -- and had 12 rebounds and center Loren Woods scored only six points.

    Kendall Gill came off the bench to lead Minnesota with 14 points.

    Minnesota had won its first two games largely because of its rebounding and Garnett's offense. The Timberwolves had outrebounded their first two opponents 100-79, but Garnett was at a loss to explain why they were dominated so badly on the boards.

    ''They were just getting them,'' he said. ''It could be a fatigue thing. Everybody's playing major minutes. It frustrates you.''

    The injuries have prevented players from learning coach Flip Saunders' newly installed motion offense.

    ''We haven't functioned well. We're trying to do some new things offensively,'' Saunders said. ''At times we've looked good, at times we've struggled. That will change when we get (Wally) Szczerbiak back.''

    There were 12 lead changes and the score was tied three times in the fourth until the Pacers sank six consecutive free throws for a 81-77 lead. Gill hit a baseline 3-pointer -- Minnesota's only one of the game -- to make it 81-79, but the Pacers hung on with free throws. The Pacers made 21 of 23 free throws and the Timberwolves were 21-for-27 from the line.

    The Pacers did their most damage from the line in the fourth, making 11 of 12 attempts, led by Miller's seven. Minnesota was just 2-for-3.

    Not all the key points came from the line: O'Neal pushed Garnett back in the low post, then spun around him for a basket as the shot-clock expired for an 83-79 lead.

    Minnesota led by seven at the end of the first before Bender came off the bench to score 11 points in the second. Bender, who signed a long-term contract extension earlier this week, showcased some of the versatility that makes him valuable off the bench. He led the Pacers on a 17-6 run that stretched into the third.

    ''I just sit on the bench, watch what's going on and see what I can do to make an impact,'' Bender said. ''I came in cold and was just looking to get something going to help my team.''

    The Timberwolves used a 9-0 run to regain the lead early in the fourth and held their final lead, 77-75, on a basket by Gill.

    Game notes

    Szczerbiak missed his third consecutive game with a dislocated toe. ... Indiana guard Erick Strickland tried to pass to Miller, but Miller turned his head. The ball smacked off his cheek and ricocheted back to Strickland. ...The Pacers made only two 3-point shots.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 80 87
    FGM-FGA 29-81 (.358) 32-86 (.372)
    3PM-3PA 1-5 (.200) 2-5 (.400)
    FTM-FTA 21-27 (.778) 21-23 (.913)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 14-42 20-56
    Assists 13 22
    Turnovers 12 16
    Steals 5 6
    Blocks 5 10
    Fast Break Points 8 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (1/0) 22 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Rasho Nesterovic Nesterovic
    Points: 12
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2
    Brad Miller Miller
    Points: 22
    Reb: 16
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 4