Ricky Rubio's three FTs send Minnesota Wolves past Indiana Pacers

By Mark Ambrogi, The Sports Xchange  |  March 29, 2017 at 7:17 AM
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio wanted the game in his hands on the free-throw line.

"That moment is the reason you work in the arena by yourself shooting hundreds of free throws," Rubio said. "You want to have moments like that, to feel that pressure. It's hard to do it at the end of the game."

Rubio sank three free throws with 3.4 seconds left to lift the Timberwolves to a 115-114 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night. The victory snapped a six-game losing streak for Minnesota (29-44).

Monta Ellis missed a 3-point shot at the buzzer for the Pacers (37-37).

Prior to that, Rubio was fouled by Jeff Teague.

"I got the ball and tried to get a screen. I felt Teague on my arm and I tried to shoot it," said Rubio, who had 21 points, hitting a career-best 13 of 13 from the foul line.

Teague said Rubio made a good play.

"He drew a foul," Teague said. "It was a tough one at the time, but they called it. I guess my arm got caught in there when (Gorgui) Dieng ran into me."

Pacers coach Nate McMillan said his players have to be more disciplined in situations like that.

"You can't leave it up to the officials," he said.

With the Pacers ahead 114-112, Teague missed a layup with 17.7 seconds left.

"I didn't realize the shot clock had more time and I shot a bad shot just trying to get it on the rim," Teague said. "Two bad plays on my part and we lose the game."

Minnesota center Karl-Anthony Towns delivered a team-high 37 points (12 of 22 from the field, 10 of 10 free throws) and 12 rebounds. Dieng added 19 points for Timberwolves.

Indiana forward Paul George also had a high of 37 points for the Pacers on 12-of-21 shooting. Teague added 20 points and 10 assists. Ellis tied his season-high with 19 points.

"At this point in the season, you don't have a game like this -- being up four with under a minute (left) and let your opponent beat you -- especially a young team," George said. "It's a frustrating loss."

With the Pacers leading 112-110 with 44.6 seconds left, Myles Turner sank two free throws to boost the lead to four points. Two free throws by Towns cut the deficit to two points.

The Pacers dropped to seventh place in the playoff race, one game ahead of eighth-place Miami.

Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau was pleased his team finished strong.

"I think that's something that we haven't done well," Thibodeau said. "We're a good free-throw-shooting team. I like the fact we got to the line 37 times (hitting 32)."

The Pacers trailed 85-76 in the third quarter before ending the quarter with a 14-2 run to take a 90-87 lead after three quarters.

Thibodeau was called for a technical foul for disputing a foul call with 11:20 in the fourth quarter. C.J. Miles hit the free throw to push the lead to 91-87.

Indiana expanded the lead to 100-92 before Towns was fouled on a 3-point shot and hit all three foul shots to close the deficit to 100-95 with 7:45 to go.

Towns scored 16 points as the Timberwolves led the Pacers 59-57 at halftime.

George scored 25 points in the first half, with 13 coming in the first quarter as the Pacers led 25-24. The Timberwolves turned it around in the second quarter and led by as many as eight (40-32).


-- The Pacers gave updates on two players injured in the fourth quarter of Sunday night's 107-94 victory. Pacers G Rodney Stuckey has a left patellar tendon strain and is expected to miss four to six weeks. Pacers C Al Jefferson will miss at least two weeks with a sprained left ankle. He will be re-evaluated at that time.

-- Pacers G-F Glenn Robinson III, who missed his third consecutive game with a left calf strain, will be re-evaluated next week.

-- Minnesota is finishing a two-week grind with six of seven games on the road. The Timberwolves begin a three-game homestand against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.

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