Wolves end road trip with loss to Pacers, but two of three ain't bad
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The Minnesota Timberwolves ended their best road trip of the season with a 116-105 loss to the Indiana Pacers.
But as a famous rock star said, two out of three ain't bad.
If you would have asked anyone in the Wolves organization how they would feel about winning two out of three on a road trip against two playoff teams and another that is still in the mix, they would have been ecstatic.
The Wolves definitely had a chance to make it a perfect road trip, too. They hung with the Pacers, leading a majority of the way, until the fourth quarter where they were outscored 33-15 -- thanks in large part to the 19 points Dahntay Jones scored in the final frame.
The Wolves have finally begun showing the sense of urgency and determination that was supposed to be their calling card when this team was put together. And they have been doing it shorthanded.
For the second straight game the Wolves were without the services of four of their top five leading scorers.
Michael Beasley continued to sit out with the bum ankle that has been a reoccurrence all season long. Darko Milicic joined him on the bench with a strained hip flexor, the latest of a long string of lower body injuries that has caused the 7-foot 250 pound center this season.
But once again the Wolves bench, hungry to prove themselves, once again stepped up in their absence.
Wayne Ellington had 14 points on 6-of-15 shooting and three assists in 33 minutes, one shy of his career high.
With Ellington and Hayward stepping up, rookie Wesley Johnson did not get much run. The fourth-overall pick out of Syracuse rode the pine for the majority of the contest, playing just 14 minutes and finishing with four points on 2-of-7 shooting.
Kevin Love extended his double-double streak to 39 games with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Love shot 6-of-15 from the field but continued his hot hand from the line, making all nine of his attempts from the charity stripe.
Jonny Flynn got his sixth straight start at point guard and managed just four points on 2-of-8 shooting, two assist and five turnovers in 23 minutes. Despite the up and down play of Flynn, it is still in the Wolves best interest to stick with him because of how much they have invested in the sophomore.
The Wolves may have avoided a scare with Flynn, who sat out the final minutes with what was believed to be a problem with his surgically repaired hip, but it was announced after the game it was an issue with his groin.
Sebastian Telfair continued to provide an argument that he may be the best point guard on the team. Telfair finished with eight points, four assists and three turnovers in 25 minutes.
Nikola Pekovic played one of the best games of his rookie season in the absence of Darko, putting up 15 points on impressive 6-of-9 shooting and was a presence inside, grabbing six boards.
The Wolves now come home for a three game home stand starting Saturday against Philadelphia before Love and Johnson head to Los Angeles to take part in All-Star Weekend and the rest of the Wolves rest their legs and injuries.