It was the Mo Williams show tonight as the Wolves beat the Pacers behind his franchise record 52 points, ending a dispiriting 15 game losing streak and sending the Pacers to their 2nd consecutive loss against bottom of the league opponents.
Very little about this was sustainable, as the Wolves won because Mo Williams was unconscious hitting shots off the dribble, Roy Hibbert got ejected for an ugly flagrant foul in the third quarter, and the Pacers had a miserable time at the free throw line, but it feels pretty good anyway.
The Wolves got behind early, and were down six at halftime. It looked for a while like they wouldn't get closer, but then Mo caught fire. After an effective but not particularly notable 15 point first half, Mo started launching and hitting from everywhere in the 2nd--he wound up with 37 after halftime, including several absurd shots that left the Pacers shaking their heads. The Wolves finally got over the hump and took a lead with 4:30 left on an Andrew Wigigns three point play, and never trailed again.
They were able to make some key stops down the stretch, as well as their free throws (18-19 for the game) to hang on for the win.
An actual win.
Mo. Freaking. Williams. It was really incredible. It was classic Mo, but he just...made them all. The pull-ups off the dribble, the long 3s, shots where he was expecting a foul call that didn't come, they were all going in. His final make from the field was a moving three pointer over David West right in front of the Pacers bench that was an absolute dagger with 1.19 left, giving the Wolves a six point lead and leaving Frank Vogel deflated on the sidelines.
- Wiggins really struggled most of the night, taking (and missing) some tough ones, blowing a few easy ones, disappearing a bit, but then came alive in the last 5 minutes with 9 huge points. A put back dunk off a Williams miss, a 3 point play in transition where he handled a tough pass, a post-up spin move, and a couple of free throws. Finished with 20, and while he didn't shoot great for the game, it was nice to see him stick with it and make plays late.
- Gorgui Dieng did a little of everything tonight, including getting pulled down from behind by Roy Hibbert that resulted in a flagrant 2 and ejection for the Pacers center in the third quarter. Made several nice passes (6 assists) to go along with his 10 and 10, plus some steals and blocks. Good game for Gorgui.
- It's obvious that Flip doesn't want to play Zach LaVine. He played Mo for the first 14 minutes of the game, ran Zach out there for 4 minutes, then stuck Mo back in for the rest of the half. Didn't appear at all in the 2nd half.
- Which makes the recent roster moves even more bizarre. Get rid of Adrien to sign Raduljica, who didn't play tonight at all, even when Hibbert was still in the game. Meanwhile it's not like Flip thinks LaVine should actually be out there at point guard, so Williams is it. Meanwhile, even with Muhammad hurt, GRIII can't get any run, so the whole thing makes no sense. Their need for a point guard is acute.
- Britt puts it succinctly:
Underrated reason for W: LaVine 4 minutes of action— brittrobson (@brittrobson) January 14, 2015
- Robbie Hummel got extra minutes tonight and showed why he deserves them. Not only did he make a few big shots for the Wolves, but he played his usual smart game, defended well, and stood up in crunch time when he shared the floor with Williams, Wiggins, Young, and Dieng. Homecoming was great for Hummel.