NBA: Pacers top Wolves
By Jon Krawczynski
AP Sports Writer
MINNEAPOLIS -- Danny Granger scored 29 of his 36 points in the second half to help the Indiana Pacers blow by the Minnesota Timberwolves, 109-99, on Wednesday night.
Granger also grabbed seven rebounds and hit 5 of 8 from 3-point range, and Darren Collison thoroughly out-played Ricky Rubio with 20 points, nine assists and six rebounds for the Pacers, who topped 100 points for just the second time this season.
Kevin Love had 21 points and 17 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who were completely overwhelmed by Indiana's size and Granger's offensive prowess.
Rubio had 10 points and six assists and Nikola Pekovic had 13 points and 12 boards.
All five Pacers starters were in double figures, including 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocks from Roy Hibbert.
Granger got off to a horrible start to the season, shooting 35 percent in his first 15 games. He has since found a rhythm, hitting nearly 48 percent of his shots in the last five games. He's topped 20 points in each of those games, his longest such streak since March 2010.
His scoring surge helped the Pacers overcome slow nights from Paul George and David West, who both were in foul trouble for most of the game.
The Wolves were wearing Minnesota Muskies uniforms, an homage to the ABA team that played one season in 1967-68. Their offense harkened back to that era as well as they missed 15 of their first 18 shots, hit only 37 percent for the game and turned the ball over 16 times.
Granger scored 17 points in the third quarter, finally putting the ball in the Target Center hoops that have been so tough on him throughout his career. He entered the night shooting 29.5 percent in this building, his lowest in any arena. He missed six of his first eight shots, but went 4 for 5 in the third quarter to help the Pacers take control.
Tempers flared late in the period when Love got frustrated after not getting a foul call on an offensive rebound. The All-Star forward raked Granger across the shoulder on the other end and Granger took exception, shoving Love and jawing at him.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel sprinted onto the court and immediately pulled Granger away from the fray as Michael Beasley and Martell Webster came to Love's defense. The officials gave the incident a long look at the replay, assessing Granger with a technical foul.
The skirmish between Team USA teammates seemed to light a fire under the Pacers, who went on a 22-12 run to blow the doors open. Granger scored 13 points in the surge, including a four-point play that gave them a 94-77 lead midway through the fourth.
J.J. Barea played for the first time in eight games for Minnesota, but had seven points on 2-for-8 shooting.
Notes: Vogel said there was still no update on G George Hill, who broke a bone in his left foot in the game against New Jersey on Tuesday night. Hill is out indefinitely. ... The Wolves had 14 healthy bodies for the first time. F Anthony Randolph was the first healthy scratch of the season. ... Vogel's pick for the Super Bowl: The Patriots. "I grew up an Eagles fan so I always cheer against the Giants."