Marquis Daniels filled in for injured All-Star Danny Granger just fine, scoring 24 points in Granger's place in the starting lineup and leading the Indiana Pacers past the Minnesota Timberwolves 112-105 on Friday night.
Troy Murphy added 16 points and 14 rebounds, helping the Pacers overcome a career-high 36 points by Randy Foye while the Timberwolves missed 18 of 41 free throws.
The Wolves trailed by 20 points, but closed to 100-92 and 102-97 on two more 3-pointers by Foye. But after a loose ball foul on Indiana's Jarrett Jack, Sebastian Telfair made only one of two free throws and Daniels knocked down a jumper from the corner to get the lead back to six with 35.9 seconds remaining.
Ryan Gomes contributed a season-high 26 points for Minnesota, which is 1-3 after star Al Jefferson's season-ending knee injury. Beyond Foye, Gomes and Mike Miller, who had 18 points, the rest of the Wolves shot 6-for-28 from the field.
Granger and his 25 points per game are out for up to three weeks with a foot problem. Sharpshooter Mike Dunleavy, already absent for a big chunk of the season, was declared in the morning out indefinitely with his sore knee. Center Jeff Foster missed his fifth straight game a sprained ankle. Point guard T.J. Ford took an accidental elbow to the forehead from teammate Troy Murphy and was away from the court for a quarter while getting stitches.
This was Indiana's 17th different starting lineup this season.
The Pacers sped away late in the second quarter _ Murphy had a double-double before halftime _ and opened up a 46-31 lead after Ford's no-contest layup. That prompted this from Wolves coach Kevin McHale: "We better defend right now! Let's go!"
Minnesota came within 67-62 on a jumper by Foye, who went 5-for-8 from 3-point range, but after a timeout Indiana built a bigger cushion. The Murphy-Ford mishap didn't faze the Pacers and, with a couple of mid-range makes by former Timberwolves center Rasho Nesterovic, they stretched the lead to 94-74 midway through the final period.
After one awkward-looking jump shot that Nesterovic proceeded to swish, one woman behind the Minnesota bench exclaimed, "He never did that when he played for us!"
Notes:@ The two newest Timberwolves, F-C Shelden Williams and PG Bobby Brown, passed their physical exams after arriving at Target Center but did not dress for the game. They were acquired Thursday in a trade that sent G Rashad McCants and C Calvin Booth to Sacramento. ... Booth established a franchise record never to be broken, for fewest career minutes (1) among all players to ever appear in a game for Minnesota. ... PG Kevin Ollie returned for the Timberwolves, playing 10 minutes after missing the past 20 games because of a dislocated elbow.
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