INDIANAPOLIS - Unbeaten met winless Friday, and the Timberwolves left Conseco Fieldhouse late in the evening with their first victory over NBA competition.
In two overtimes.
Leading by 23 points in the third quarter, down by three in the fourth quarter's final seconds, the Wolves persevered, forcing overtime on Al Jefferson's late three-point play, forcing the second overtime on Chris Richard's buzzer- beating tip and then finally winning 113-110 with youngsters Rashad McCants and Craig Smith leading the way.
Smith provided a game-high 20 points and McCants delivered 18, including an important three-pointer to start the second overtime, and a crucial steal with 8.4 seconds left in the game.
"For us, with a lot of young guys, it was great," Wolves coach Randy Wittman said on a night when his team had the opportunity to practice its end-of-game plays repeatedly and mostly succeeded.
Richard, the second-round draft pick rookie from Florida, sat for the game's first 52 minutes, then entered with 45 seconds left in the first overtime. All he did was tap in a Ricky Davis miss to force the second overtime and then provide a crucial blocked shot with the Wolves leading by a point with 16 seconds remaining.
"He just grew up right there," Wittman said.
The Wolves led by 23 points in the third quarter, then surrendered an 18-0 Indiana run on a night when the Pacers, now 4-1 in preseason play, were without star forward Jermaine O'Neal, who sat out because of a hyperextended knee.
Point guards Randy Foye (knee tendinitis) and Sebastian Telfair (ankle) wore suits and watched from behind the Wolves' bench for the third consecutive game. They will not play tonight in Milwaukee, but expect each to return to practice -- Foye likely first --next week for the team's final two preseason games at Target Center.
Forward Ryan Gomes was in uniform but did not play. He injured his ankle after four minutes of action Tuesday in Memphis and has not played since then. He probably will play some tonight in Milwaukee.
Wittman turned toward the press table after the fourth quarter concluded and said there's nothing worse in the exhibition season than an overtime game. He was wrong. There's nothing worse than a two-overtime game.
Midway through the second OT, referee Bennett Salvatore ran back down the floor when Davis still had another free throw to shoot.
"I know you want to go home, Bennett," Wittman said. "I want to go home, too."
You make the call
Pacers center David Harrison, all 7 feet of him, collided with Wittman near the Wolves bench in the second quarter and nearly sent the coach tumbling over the press table.
"That was a charge, definitely a charge," Wittman said. "I took it, but I'll feel it tomorrow."
|Atlanta - LP: J. Johnson||0||FINAL|
|Philadelphia - WP: K. Giles||1|
|NY Mets - LP: J. deGrom||1||FINAL|
|NY Yankees - WP: M. Pineda||6|
|Boston - WP: A. Ogando||7||FINAL|
|Baltimore - LP: B. Matusz||5|
|Cleveland - WP: D. Salazar||13||FINAL|
|Detroit - LP: S. Greene||1|
|Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Motte||7||FINAL|
|Cincinnati - LP: B. Badenhop||3|
|Washington - LP: T. Roark||2||FINAL|
|Miami - WP: B. Morris||3|
|Toronto - LP: R. Dickey||3||FINAL|
|Tampa Bay - WP: J. Dominguez||12|
|St. Louis - WP: C. Martinez||3||FINAL|
|Milwaukee - LP: M. Garza||0|
|San Francisco - LP: C. Heston||4||FINAL|
|Colorado - WP: E. Butler||6|
|Pittsburgh||4||Top 9th Inning|
|Houston||0||Bottom 8th Inning|
|Texas||2||Bottom 7th Inning|
|Los Angeles||1||Top 7th Inning|
|Minnesota||0||Top 9th Inning|
|Minnesota||4||3rd Prd 3:38|
|New York City||0||FINAL|
|FC Dallas||1||2nd Half 5:00|