Timberwolves vs. Pacers

Paul George scores 29 points and grabs 9 boards as the Pacers outlast the Timberwolves 107-103.

Postgame 151113

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Timberwolves vs. Pacers

Paul George scores 29 points and grabs 9 boards as the Pacers outlast the Timberwolves 107-103.
Nov 13, 2015  |  02:22

Postgame Wrap Up: Pacers-Timberwolves 151113

November 13, 2015 - Pacers.com's Lauryn Gray recaps the Indiana Pacers' 107-103 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday night. Players and coaches from both teams discuss the game.
Nov 13, 2015  |  04:02

Postgame: Pacers Locker Room 151113

November 13, 2015 - Pacers players Paul George, Monta Ellis, and Glenn Robinson III discuss Indiana's 107-103 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Nov 13, 2015  |  02:45

Postgame: Vogel Press Conference 151113

November 13, 2015 - Pacers head coach Frank Vogel discusses Indiana's 107-103 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Nov 13, 2015  |  06:44

Postgame: Timberwolves Locker Room 151113

November 13, 2015 - Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Sam Mitchell and players Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins discuss their 107-103 loss to the Indiana Pacers.
Nov 13, 2015  |  03:18

Can't Touch This

Lavoy Allen steals it at one end, and Monta Ellis finishes with the fast break bucket at the other.
Nov 13, 2015  |  00:24

Not So Fast

Karl-Anthony Towns goes up for the dunk, but C.J. Miles is there for the big block.
Nov 13, 2015  |  00:16

Ellis Feeling Better, Pacers Looking Better

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

The storyline behind Pacers victories is becoming repetitive. Paul George plays great, George Hill and Ian Mahinmi are steady, and the bench contributes.

The variable, more often than not, has been Monta Ellis, the free agent who was signed to add scoring punch to what was intended to be a sleeker and more powerful offense. Ellis has run hot and cold through the first 10 games, but is starting to produce the plays and games that made him appealing in the first place.

Ellis scored 24 points on 11-of-17 shooting, passed out a game-high five assists and made a crucial defensive play in the final minute of the Pacers' 107-103 victory over Minnesota Friday, helping avoid an embarrassing collapse from a 27-point third quarter lead.

"That's why he's here: to make those plays and seal games for us," Paul George said.

George had an increasingly routine evening with 29 points and nine rebounds, his sixth consecutive game of 26 or more points. If anyone is surprised he's bounced back so quickly from the broken leg suffered on Aug. 1, 2014, he doesn't understand why. Coach Frank Vogel, who saw him throughout the summer and in the days leading up to training camp, isn't surprised, either.

"I don't know why it's so surprising," George said. "I prepared and I'm always ready to compete."

Glenn Robinson III put up 11 points and five rebounds against the team that cut him last season, Chase Budinger had a third consecutive solid game with six points and five assists against the team that traded him in the off-season and Ian Mahinmi matched the Timberwolves' prized rookie Karl-Anthony Towns with 12 points and nine rebounds.

Ellis is emerging as an X-factor. Should Friday's performance become more like the norm than an exception, the Pacers' current streak of six wins in the last seven games could become closer to the norm as well.

Ellis, who averaged 18.9 points in Dallas last season, has been all over the place through the first 10 games, which have produced six victories. He's been in double figures six times. He scored 25 at Cleveland last Sunday. He scored two against Orlando on Monday. He was solid in Wednesday's win at Boston with 13 points, and closer to outstanding on Friday against the Timberwolves.

Growing comfortable with new teammates and a new offense is part of it, he said, but mostly it comes down to something more basic.

"Coming to a new system and learning guys and trying to fit in the right way takes time, but I've been feeling good the last four or five games," he said. "Hopefully I can be more consistent with it.

"I've been in this league a long time and played a lot of minutes, dealing with a lot of wear and tear from surgeries back when. I'm getting the kind of treatment I need from the training staff here and the great doctors that we have, and I'm starting to feel a little better."

Ellis, the Pacers' oldest player at 30, showed made a few crucial plays in the final minute after Minnesota had taken back all but one point of the Pacers' 27-point lead in the third quarter. After Andrew Wiggins converted a layup to bring the Timberwolves within 101-100 with 59.9 seconds left, Ellis lost the ball on a drive to the basket – but then did everything right the rest of the way.

He converted a left-handed layup out of the halfcourt offense to return the Pacers to a three-point lead, then blocked Andre Miller's layup from behind. C.J. Miles hit one of two free throws to open a four-point lead, then George's two free throws provided a six-point margin.

Zach Lavine's 3-pointer from 27 feet made it a three-point game again, but Ellis was fouled on the inbounds pass and his two free throws with six seconds left to finish the scoring. He added a steal on the game's final possession.

Ellis is known for scoring, but leads the Pacers in assists with 49, three more than Hill, and steals with 18, two more than Hill. More often than not, coach Frank Vogel puts the ball in his hands in the fourth quarter, sending Hill, the team's best 3-point shooter (.453) to the corner for a possible kickout pass.

"It's exciting when you put the ball in his hands," Vogel said. "Obviously he's a great competitor. He has a great competitive spirit and knows how to win games."

The Pacers' hope was that Ellis and George would become a two-pronged threat, particularly on the offensive end, and learn to feed off one another. There's hope for that now more than ever. Both took 17 shots on Friday, and seemed to keep an eye out for one another on the perimeter. Things like that take time, though.

"We're getting a better feel for one another, a better understanding of one another," George said." We both enjoy playing off one another."


Have a question for Mark? Want it to be on Pacers.com? Email him at askmontieth@gmail.com and you could be featured in his next mailbag.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.

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