INDIANAPOLIS – Roy Hibbert knew he was going to get the ball. It was just up to him what he was going to do with it.
Its been a slow process for the Indiana Pacers center to get his playing up to expectations – a process that has stretched over much of the season.
However, when teammate Paul George told him before the game that he was getting the ball, Hibbert capitalized by scoring a season-high 27 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Pacers to a 107-91 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Paul told me before the game that he was going to throw it down to me every time, and I appreciate that, Hibbert said. I just feel like the atmosphere on the court and when we play hard, things are fun out there.
Along with the season-best scoring night, he had nine offensive boards and four blocks.
Roy Hibbert was the star of the game, Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. He was dominant at both ends. You can see in his body language he is playing more confident.
George had 17 points and George Hill added 16 points with six assists to help the Pacers get their second win in three games and remain in the hunt with the New York Knicks for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Ricky Rubio had 21 points and 10 assists and Luke Ridnour scored 17 points for the Timberwolves, who have lost nine of their last 11 games.
We played hard, we just didnt have enough, Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman said. We ran out of gas in the second half, but they competed.
The Pacers jumped out to a 12-2 lead to start the game, then went on an 8-0 run at the end of the first half to take a 62-54 lead at halftime. They stretched the advantage to 16 late in the third quarter as George hit a fadeaway jumper and then a 3-pointer to put Indiana up 86-66 with 2:06 to go in the period.
We knew that we needed to come out with energy, and thats kind of the case every game, George said. The third quarter is really where you set the tone, and we knew thats what we had to do.
But the Timberwolves didnt make it easy for the Pacers to pull away.
We were fighting them all the way through the game, but in the fourth quarter I think we gave them too many easy baskets, Rubio said. We had a lot of turnovers, we tried to make a run, but we couldnt get over the hump.