Sunday, December 10, 2017
Sports

Pacers stay hot, keep charging Wolves at bay

INDIANAPOLIS — Paul George scored 29, Monta Ellis added 24 in his best game this season and the Pacers beat the Timberwolves 107-103 Friday night for their sixth win in seven games.

Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins each scored 26 and led a furious charge that almost brought Minnesota back from a 27-point deficit in the final 16 minutes. After Indiana built an 87-60 lead with four minutes left in the third quarter, the Timberwolves pulled within 101-100 with 1:18 left.

Ian Mahinmi added 12 points and nine rebounds, and Glenn Robinson scored 11 and had five rebounds off the bench for Indiana.

Karl-Anthony Towns, the league's seventh-best rebounder, had 12 points and nine rebounds for Minnesota. Nemanja Bjelica and Shabazz Muhammad each had 10 points.

Fournier leads Magic: Evan Fournier scored 21 and the host Magic raced out to a big early lead to defeat the Jazz 102-93.

Tobias Harris added 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Magic, which won for the fifth time in its past seven games.

The Magic jumped out to a 16-2 lead in the first four minutes while the Jazz missed eight of its first nine shots and turned the ball over four times.

Orlando stretched its advantage to 22 points early in the second quarter and was up by as many as 23 in the fourth before the Jazz got within seven points in the closing minutes.

Gordon Hayward and Trey Burke each scored 16 for the Jazz. Hayward was Utah's only starter to make a field goal in the first half.

CURRY'S HOT START: Stephen Curry hardly keeps track of how many 3-pointers he's putting up on a given night. His mind-set is: See a chance and let it fly.

So, how about if he's on a record pace for 3s by season's end?

"I always believe 3 is better than 2," Curry said, smiling, after a recent Warriors game. "If I can knock them down, I'm sure that will help our team kind of open up games and it's kind of deflating for a defense. I know it is for us when a guy gets hot on the other side."

The reigning MVP has had a hot hand while playing for the league's most dominant team. The defending champion Warriors appear to be even better than they were during their 67-win title run.

Curry is determined to show the rest of the league he's a far more polished player, capable of spectacular performances and leading the new-and-improved Warriors to another special season.

"I'm always confident. I'm not really surprised when I do something crazy," Curry said.

Curry's sensational start has his name mentioned in the same breath as Michael Jordan, and interim Warriors coach Luke Walton projects he'll be the best shooter of all time. That is, if he isn't already.

"I think he's setting the new standard as a shooter in this league," Walton said.

Curry, 27, has hit 52-of-110 3-pointers through 10 games in his seventh NBA season, putting him on pace for 426. That would shatter his record set last season, 286 on 646 attempts.

"If I beat what I did last year, then we're doing something," Curry said.

Curry rarely slowed during his short offseason, using the summer to improve his game and welcome a new daughter to join sister Riley.

The baby-faced point guard just shrugged and chuckled when the subject of all his 3-point attempts came up after a win against Denver last week.

"I shot 16," Curry said. "I'm making a few more, so that helps. I'm getting decent looks. … I'm not really searching for them, which is good, just the flow of the offense, rhythm, knocking them down and keeping the offense going."

Doc Rivers of the rival Clippers said he can't remember another player with the combination of Curry's shooting range and slick ball-handling. The only comparison Rivers can make is to a star from his youth: "Pistol" Pete Maravich.

"I can't think of anyone else that has done it on that level," Rivers said. "There are guys that have been near that level, but no one else is on that level."

Around the league: Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer missed the game at Boston because of a family emergency, the team said. Top assistant Kenny Atkinson coached the Hawks. Budenholzer returned to Atlanta early Friday after traveling with the team, the Hawks said. They gave no details and asked fans and media to "respect the private nature of the situation." … Hedo Turkoglu, a forward who played 497 regular-season games for the Magic and was a key contributor to Orlando's surprising 2008-09 Eastern Conference title run, announced his retirement. Turkoglu, 36, finished his career last season with the Clippers.

Pacers 107, Timberwolves 103

MINNESOTA (103): Prince 2-3 0-0 4, Garnett 1-3 0-0 2, Towns 5-9 2-2 12, LaVine 11-22 0-0 26, Wiggins 10-19 5-6 26, Bjelica 4-8 0-0 10, Dieng 1-2 0-0 2, Martin 0-4 2-2 2, Miller 4-5 2-2 10, Muhammad 4-8 1-1 9, Rudez 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 42-83 12-13 103.

INDIANA (107): Miles 3-10 1-2 8, George 8-17 9-10 29, Mahinmi 6-11 0-4 12, G.Hill 2-7 0-0 6, Ellis 11-17 1-2 24, Allen 3-7 0-0 6, Budinger 2-4 1-1 6, J.Hill 2-5 1-1 5, Robinson III 4-8 2-3 11. Totals 41-86 15-23 107.

Minnesota 27 23 23 30— 103

Indiana 24 37 29 17— 107

3-Point GoalsMinnesota 7-20 (LaVine 4-7, Bjelica 2-5, Wiggins 1-4, Martin 0-2, Muhammad 0-2), Indiana 10-25 (George 4-6, G.Hill 2-5, Budinger 1-1, Robinson III 1-3, Ellis 1-4, Miles 1-6). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsMinnesota 45 (Towns 9), Indiana 50 (George, Mahinmi 9). AssistsMinnesota 16 (Miller 5), Indiana 23 (Budinger, Ellis 5). Total FoulsMinnesota 19, Indiana 9. A16,797 (18,165).

Magic 102, Jazz 93

UTAH (93): Hayward 6-14 3-4 16, Lyles 3-7 0-0 6, Favors 2-4 1-1 5, Neto 2-5 0-0 5, Burks 2-13 6-6 11, Pleiss 1-3 0-0 2, Ingles 2-2 0-0 6, Booker 3-9 0-0 6, Burke 7-12 1-4 16, Millsap 1-3 5-6 8, Withey 4-7 0-0 8, Johnson 1-8 1-2 4. Totals 34-87 17-23 93.

ORLANDO (102): Harris 4-9 8-8 19, Frye 2-7 2-2 8, Vucevic 8-14 0-0 16, Payton 3-8 8-10 16, Fournier 7-15 5-5 21, Hezonja 2-4 1-1 6, Napier 1-4 0-0 2, Gordon 3-9 4-5 10, Dedmon 2-5 0-0 4, Nicholson 0-1 0-0 0, Marble 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-76 28-31 102.

Utah 15 25 23 30— 93

Orlando 33 19 28 22— 102

3-Point GoalsUtah 8-25 (Ingles 2-2, Neto 1-2, Millsap 1-2, Burke 1-3, Hayward 1-4, Johnson 1-4, Burks 1-4, Booker 0-2, Lyles 0-2), Orlando 10-27 (Harris 3-6, Payton 2-3, Frye 2-6, Fournier 2-6, Hezonja 1-3, Gordon 0-1, Nicholson 0-1, Napier 0-1). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsUtah 48 (Favors, Booker, Withey 7), Orlando 58 (Harris 13). AssistsUtah 24 (Neto 7), Orlando 20 (Payton 6). Total FoulsUtah 24, Orlando 20. A16,709 (18,500).

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