8:00 PM ET, February 19, 2014
Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
J.J. Barea scored 12 points off the bench as the Wolves took control early against the Eastern Conference leaders.
"This is one of my favorite wins of the season just because we played a very good team," Love said. "We did it without two key players and we fought hard."
George led Indiana with 35 points, but managed just two in the fourth quarter as the Pacers lost for the third time in five games, never once taking a lead.
"We just didn't have a whole lot of pop tonight," said David West, who scored four points and struggled guarding Love all night. "This is a game that I thought we would come out and play a little better than we did. We just didn't have it, just a step or two slow."
It was Love's eighth straight game with at least 25 points and 10 rebounds, the longest streak since Shaquille O'Neal accomplished the same feat Jan. 3-19, 2005. Love has an NBA-best 14 games with 30 points and 10 rebounds this season.
"I thought a lot of the shots he made was good defense," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "You have to give him credit. He is an extraordinary player and he played an extraordinary game tonight."
In their first game since the All-Star break as they try to make a late-season run and catch Golden State for the final playoff spot in the West, the Wolves came out running and led by 16 when Love came out for a rest 3 minutes into the second quarter.
Minnesota's reserves have been unable to hold their ground when Love goes to the bench recently, but they did fine on Wednesday. Barea, the subject of recent trade rumors, scored eight straight points during one stretch -- including a circus shot on the fast break over C.J. Watson that increased Minnesota's lead to 20 with 6:48 left in the half.
"When he gets his rest, we need other people to step up," Barea said. "Tonight, we were able to do that."
Love scored 18 points in the third quarter, including a jumper from just inside the 3-point line with 0.8 seconds left that pushed the Wolves' lead back up to 10 after an Indiana run.
Minnesota, playing without injured starters Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin, led by as many as 17 in the third quarter. However, with Love sitting to start the fourth, a jumper from Watson early in the quarter cut Indiana's deficit to five and gave the Pacers hope.
But again, Minnesota's reserves held on. Barea knocked down a jump shot in front of the Wolves bench to extend the lead back to 11 with 8:33 to play and the Wolves never looked back.
"Coach came to me and said he's going to give me a little bit of a rest," Love said. "He came to me during the timeout and said `These guys are rolling.' I said `Great, just keep them in as long as you need to.' Those guys just did a great job and really stepped up and took advantage of the opportunity tonight."
When Love returned, he reeled in a full-court pass from Rubio with his fingertips and slammed it home to give the Wolves a 98-84 lead.
Indiana went into the All-Star break stuck in a shooting slump, but shot 50 percent in a win over Atlanta on Tuesday.
The Pacers made just 8 of 22 shots to start Wednesday's game and finished at 40 percent.
"We will reflect on this," George said. "We really didn't want to lose and drop this game. But we have to move on. It's all about the next game."
Wolves coach Rick Adelman on how trade rumors impact players as the deadline approaches: "I think it definitely affects them. But it's all part of the business, especially now," he said. ... The Pacers are 8-7 on the second game of a back-to-back. "Not really," Vogel answered after he was asked if he, George and Roy Hibbert have caught up on rest after All-Star weekend. "I'm a little more tired than usual. I'm sure those guys are. But it doesn't mean anything. Still have to go out and win games." The Wolves still don't know when Pekovic or Martin will return. Adelman said Martin will get his injured thumb examined again in the next day or two. .. Wolves center Ronny Turiaf left in the fourth quarter with a right knee injury and didn't return.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 19: Kevin Love #42 of the Minnesota Timberwolves listens to the national anthem prior...(Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Around The Association
MVP: Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio have to share this honor like peanut butter and jelly. Love finished with 42 points and 16 rebounds, his 14th 30/10 of the season (most in the NBA) and Rubio set a career high with 17 assists.
Defining moment: In the first 5:12 of the second quarter, Indiana watched Minnesota's lead balloon from 30-20 to 40-20, largely while the benches were out there. Indiana tried to punch back but just couldn't get a grip on Minnesota, in spite of Paul George's 35 points and 11 rebounds.
That was ... the Kevin Love show: Indiana's vaunted defense holds opponents to 41.2 percent shooting, and Timberwolves not named Love shot 43 percent. But Love was 14-for-22 from the field, including going 5-for-10 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Next 5 Games
Kevin Love had his 4th 40-point game of the season, which would be enough to be tied for the most such games in Timberwolves franchise history. His 8 career 40-point games are twice as many as Kevin Garnett had with Minnesota.[+]
Kevin Love's 42 points are tied for the most against the Pacers this season. Love has more games with 40 points and 15 rebounds this season (3) than the rest of the league combined (2).
This is the 2nd time Kevin Love has had 40 points, 15 rebounds and 5 made three-pointers in a game. The other 2,607 players that have played in at least one game since the NBA adopted the 3-point line have combined to do it once.[+]
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