Jefferson, Telfair lead Timberwolves to rare winDec 22, 2007 - 5:50 AM By Jim Beilby PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Even the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves can catch fire every once in a while.
Al Jefferson collected 29 points and 13 rebounds and Sebastian Telfair added 27 and 11 assists to lead the Timberwolves to a 131-118 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Friday.
Antoine Walker scored 23 points, Ryan Gomes added 16 and Craig Smith and Gerald Green poured in 12 apiece for Minnesota, which snapped a six-game losing streak.
Despite their league-worst 4-21 record, the Timberwolves have struggled to finish games, not start them.
Against the Pacers, Minnesota erased an early deficit by scoring 92 points in 29 minutes - spanning the end of the second quarter, the third quarter, and the start of the fourth.
But at the beginning, the Timberwolves' play reflected their poor record.
Indiana opened the game with a 27-8 run in which it shot 11-of-12, including 2-of-2 from the arc.
But despite giving up a season-worst 40 points in the first quarter, Minnesota came back from a 20-point deficit to score 40 of its own in the second quarter and led 60-55 at the break.
"They were at home and nobody wants to be embarrassed on their home court," Pacers guard Kareem Rush said. "We got off to a hot start but weren't able to finish the game out. I give them a lot of credit, they came out and played hard."
Gomes tied the game at 52-52 with a layup at 1:44 and then gave the Timberwolves the lead less than a half minute later with a short jumper.
Both Walker and Telfair had 12 points in the second quarter, with Walker nailing four 3-pointers in the period for the Timberwolves.
Walker's hot shooting brought out his well known "shimmy" dance.
"We haven't seen 'the shimmy' yet," Minnesota coach Randy Wittman said. "It was nice to see him hit those big shots."
Minnesota extended its lead in the third quarter with a strong showing by Jefferson, who put up 15 points in the first seven minutes of the quarter. Green also found the touch in the third, scoring all 12 of his points in the period after having been held scoreless in the first half.
"We were just having fun," Walker said. "We came out with a lot of energy even though we were way down. We needed to take it one possession at a time. We haven't been playing well for 48 minutes and we didn't again tonight. We played well for 36 minutes."
Jefferson's big third quarter came after he was removed from the game early in the second with a lip laceration after taking a hit in the paint.
"Three stitches," Jefferson said. "But I've got my lip busted a million times. Nothing like that will keep me down."
The Timberwolves, who are 0-19 when scoring less than 100 points and 3-2 when scoring more than 100 this season, hit the century mark just seconds into the fourth quarter.
"It is definitely unusual to be up 20 and have them run away with the game," Indiana forward Mike Dunleavy said. "I think it's surprising, but at the same time to have them play so well is not surprising because they are a much better team than their record. They played their butts off. They were great."
Minnesota's success was built on its efforts in the paint. The Timberwolves outrebounded the Pacers, 48-36, and took advantage of their opportunities at the free-throw line, connecting on 17-of-19 attempts.
"Sebastian playing 48 minutes for us tonight was unreal," Jefferson said. "After the game I told him, 'That's what we need from you every night.' The way he hit open guys, they way he got guys open; it was unreal."
The Timberwolves had season highs in second-quarter scoring, third-quarter scoring, field goals and points. And their 131 points is the second highest in franchise history.
"I think they outplayed us in every phase of the game," Indiana coach Jim O'Brien said. "They get Antoine Walker healthy, they have a very strong inside game, and Telfair is a very quick point guard. We competed tonight, we just lost to a better team."
Dunleavy scored 30 points and grabbed six boards for the Pacers, who had a three-game winning streak snapped.
MINNESOTA 131 FINAL
Dec 21 10:28 PM
MINNESOTA 96 END, 3RD QTR
Dec 21 9:54 PM
MINNESOTA 60 HALFTIME
Dec 21 9:09 PM
MINNESOTA 20 END, 1ST QTR
Dec 21 8:34 PM
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