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