Surging Pacers rally past Timberwolves 116-105
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- To Dahntay Jones, there's nothing like opportunity, but consistency doesn't hurt, either.
Lately, he has had both. And the Indiana Pacers again reaped the benefits Friday night.
Jones, a veteran forward who played sparingly this season until a recent coaching change, scored all 19 of his points in the fourth quarter, and the Pacers pulled out a 116-105 come-from-behind victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
"Dahntay Jones," Timberwolves forward Kevin Love said, "played out of his mind."
Danny Granger also had 19 points for Indiana, which rallied from a nine-point second-half deficit for its sixth victory in seven games under interim coach Frank Vogel. But it was Indiana's bench -- particularly Jones -- that keyed the victory, with the Pacers outscoring the Timberwolves 33-15 in the fourth quarter. Pacers reserves scored 29 fourth-quarter points.
Backup A.J. Price scored eight points during a 10-3 run to start the fourth quarter for Indiana, which trailed by seven to start the period. Two free throws by Jones gave the Pacers their first lead of the second half, 95-94, with 9 minutes remaining, and Indiana did not trail again.
Jones, who played sparingly under former coach Jim O'Brien, made six of seven shots from the field, and also had a key assist in the fourth quarter. His two 3-pointers matched his total in the first 50 games.
"Our bench came in and took over the game," Vogel said. "A.J. Price got it started with a big lift, and Dahntay Jones was red hot. Dahntay stays ready. He's a good basketball player, a good defensive player and he got hot tonight."
Jones has led the Pacers in scoring in two of the last four games.
"It's a confidence-builder when you know when you're going to come in and get minutes," Jones said. "Frank's instilled confidence in everybody. That's what happens.
"I just took the open shot and felt pretty good when it was released."
Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis said Jones "just had an amazing night."
"I didn't do enough to help my team with stopping Dahntay Jones," Rambis said. "I should have done better things to find ways to get stops and take him out of the ballgame. We tried fronting, changed our matchup, came with different people. We just couldn't find a way to get stops. It seems they always had a counter for us."
Kevin Love finished with 22 points to lead Minnesota, which entered having won its last two. He also finished with 15 rebounds, and has 39 consecutive double-doubles -- the longest streak in the NBA since Moses Malone's 44 in 1982-1983.
Forward Josh McRoberts had 12 points and rookie Paul George had 11 points and four assists for Indiana.
Mike Dunleavy scored 14 of the first 16 points for the Pacers, who led 18-9 early before the Timberwolves quickly cut into the lead and made it a tight game through halftime. Dunleavy shot 4 of 4 early, including 3 of 3 from 3-point range. He also had a 3-pointer negated because he stepped out of bounds.
Lazar Hayward had 12 points off the bench in the first half for Minnesota, which tied it late in the first quarter and made it a 58-56 lead at halftime. Minnesota pushed its lead to 67-58 before Indiana stabilized and went on a 16-8 run. It stayed close until Jones got hot from inside and outside in the final period.
Tyler Hansbrough added 14 for Indiana, with 10 coming in the first half, but Timberwolves forward Wayne Ellington said, "To be honest, Dahntay Jones was the 'X' factor.
"He came off the bench and gave them a huge spark. In my opinion, if he doesn't have that type of game, it would have been a lot closer at the end."
NOTES: Pacers guard Brandon Rush is off the injury report after missing eight games, including six with a sprained right ankle and the past two because of a coach's decision. Vogel said even with Rush healthy, he likely won't immediately alter the rotation. ... Minnesota entered on its first two-game road winning streak since 2009 despite missing Michael Beasley, Darko Milicic and Luke Ridnour for the two victories. None of the three played Friday.
Updated February 11, 2011