INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Karl-Anthony Towns scored 23 points — nine of them in a row in a key run in the third quarter — as the Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Indiana Pacers 115-101 on Wednesday night.
Minnesota has won five in a row, including four on the road, to improve to 10-8. Indiana had a five-game winning streak, falling to 10-7.
“I just thought it was important to accelerate,” Towns said of the third quarter. “They came out of the third quarter with a little bit of fire in them, so I wanted to do what I could do to put that out or at least match that.”
The Pacers finished trailing by two points in the third quarter as Towns had the nine-point run as part of a 13-point quarter, after which the Timberwolves led 87–77. The Pacers never came within six points after that. Towns also had 11 rebounds and eight assists.
“That team played incredibly well and we came in with a lot of respect for them but not intimidated,” said Towns. “If they wanted to beat us, we felt they had to beat us by playing our best.”
All five Timberwolves starters scored in double digits. Rudy Gobert had 21 points and 16 rebounds, Anthony Edwards 19 points, Jaden McDaniels 18 and D’Angelo Russell 15 points and 11 assists.
“It was fun, every night we try to set the tone,” Gobert said of the inside game. “I thought Karl did a great job and I tried to be more aggressive.”
The Timberwolves shot 60.3 percent (47 of 78) compared to the Pacers’ 38.5 percent (37 of 96).
“I just told the boys that this was hands down the best performance of our season,” said Timberwolves coach Chris Finch.
Myles Turner led the Pacers with 31 points, including seven 3s. Bennedict Mathurin, sixth man, scored 16 of his 21 in the first half.
“We need to defend better and be better offensively, on both sides of the ball,” said Pacers coach Rick Carlisle.
The Pacers’ leading scorer of the season, Tyrese Haliburton with 20.4 points per game, had an off night with 10 points on 4-of-15 shooting. He did have 12 assists.
“We’ll have to regroup and get ready for Friday,” Carlisle said. “We’re playing against better teams. Minnesota is a playoff team. Portland has been a playoff team. We’re going to play better on Friday, I’m confident about that.”
Minnesota, which is second in first quarter scoring, scored the first eight points of the game to lead early as much as 27-10. Indiana, the worst player in the league in the first quarter, trailed 29–21 going into the second quarter.
Timberwolves: Towns appeared in his 500th career game. He is only the fifth NBA player in three decades to accumulate 11,000 points and 5,000 rebounds in that span.
Pacers: Haliburton leads the NBA in assists with 10.5 per game. … SG Andrew Nembhard (left knee) missed his second consecutive start.
Timberwolves: Friday night in Charlotte.