The Pacers were down three starters on Wednesday night, but you wouldn’t have known it in the first half against Minnesota. Indiana set a new season high for points in a half racing out to a 77-56 halftime lead over the Timberwolves.
Neither led by more than four points in a back-and-forth first quarter that featured five ties and five lead changes. Caris LeVert helped Indiana’s offense get rolling early, scoring eight points in his first shift on 4-of-6 shooting.
The Timberwolves led 31-28 with just over a minute remaining in the opening frame, but the Pacers’ second unit closed the quarter with six straight points to take a 35-31 advantage into the second quarter.
PLAYOFF PICTURE: Tracking the Latest Standings, Remaining Schedules, and More »
Reserve guard Aaron Holiday caught fire in the second quarter, scoring 14 of Indiana’s first 18 points in the frame. The 6-foot guard knocked down a 3-pointer at the 11:06 mark, hit jumper on the Pacers’ next possession, added two free throws at 8:51, converted a layup at 8:22, drilled another three at 7:44, and then hit two more free throws at 7:13 to cap an impressive four-minute stretch.
As the Timberwolves defense started to key on Holiday, second-year center Goga Bitadze was the primary beneficiary. The 6-11 big man out of the Republic of Georgia converted a dunk, layup, and 3-pointer on consecutive possessions to help Indiana extend its lead to…