Pacers 106, Timberwolves 102

Thursday, November 25th 2004, 4:16 pm
By: News On 6

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ The Indiana Pacers aren't giving up on a season that began with so much promise. Jamaal Tinsley just won't let them.

With Ron Artest, Jermaine O'Neal and Stephen Jackson suspended for fighting with Detroit fans, Tinsley has made the Pacers his team, leading them to two victories in their three games since the fight.

Tinsley had 20 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds to lead the Pacers to a 106-102 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night.

``Jamaal's a great point guard,'' said Austin Croshere, who had 25 points and 11 rebounds for the Pacers. ``You don't see what he's done the last two games throughout the course of the season because Ron and Jermaine are there. He's really stepped up.''

The soft-spoken Tinsley scored 29 points Tuesday night in a victory over Boston, then dominated both ends of the floor against Minnesota, getting five steals.

In the only other NBA game Thursday night, the Los Angeles Clippers beat New Jersey 101-88.

Kevin Garnett had 23 points and nine rebounds, and Wally Szczerbiak added 18 points for the Timberwolves, who were without center Michael Olowokandi.

Olowokandi was suspended for the game by the team after being arrested at an Indianapolis nightclub early Thursday.

Police used a stun gun to subdue the 7-foot center after he would not leave the club. He spent the night in jail and was charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing, both misdemeanors.

``We are extremely disappointed in Michael Olowokandi's actions last night,'' general manager Jim Stack said in a statement. ``Regardless of how the incident escalated, he never should have been in that situation.''

Indiana was 13-of-25 from 3-point range, consistently beat the Timberwolves to loose balls and made the extra pass for wide open shots in their improbable win over one of the Western Conference's elite teams.

``We lost in talent, but we had a little more hustle, a little better execution and patience and, obviously, a little more heart,'' Croshere said.

The Timberwolves trailed by as many as 13 points in the third quarter, but crawled back into the game when Garnett got going in the fourth.

Garnett scored 13 points, making 9-of-12 free throws to get Minnesota back in the game, and Fred Hoiberg hit a 3-pointer to make it 100-96 with 34 seconds to play.

But the Pacers closed the game out at the free-throw line, handing the Timberwolves their second straight defeat.

``We were a lot more aggressive in the fourth, but at that point we couldn't catch them,'' Garnett said. ``That's the hardest thing to do in the NBA.''

It was another spirited effort by the Pacers, who lost to Orlando by three points with just six players Saturday and used seven players in a relatively easy win over Boston on Tuesday night.

They play Charlotte on Friday night before starting a four-game road trip at streaking Seattle on Sunday. The Pacers have fed off a raucous home crowd that has rallied around the team, and Sunday's game will be their first on the road since the brawl in Detroit.

``They've sort of adopted this team right now,'' Garnett said of the Indiana fans. ``It's a beautiful thing for basketball.''

Clippers 101, Nets 88

At Los Angeles, Marko Jaric scored 23 points to lead Los Angeles' balanced scoring and the Clippers beat New Jersey to run the Nets' losing streak to seven games.

Elton Brand scored 17 points and Corey Maggette had 16 to help the Clippers end a three-game losing streak. Richard Jefferson scored 24 points for New Jersey.

The Nets' slump is their worst since the 2000-01 season, when they also dropped seven in a row from Jan. 23-Feb. 2.