Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 10/14

Game 1: Friday, October 14th
Game 2: Thursday, October 20th

Timberwolves 84

(0-2, 0-1 away)

Pacers 93

(2-1, 2-0 home)

    7:00 PM ET, October 14, 2005

    Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIN 30 20 12 2284
    IND 27 33 18 1593

    Artest's 26 points lead Pacers past Wolves

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Ron Artest doesn't see what all the fuss is about.

    Artest had 26 points to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 93-84 exhibition victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.

    After the game he backed off comments he made on Tuesday night in New Jersey before his first official NBA action since the brawl with fans last November that earned him a 73-game suspension.

    Before the game with the Nets he said: "I'm going to continue playing hard and out of control, like a wild animal that needs to be caged in. I'll let the referees handle it."

    Artest, who is averaging 19 points in the Pacers' three preseason games, said because his comments were made in the New York area there was more attention brought to them.

    "It was nothing more than just a comment, a quote," Artest said following Friday's win. "All that summarized was (being) hungry. It was definitely a real passionate quote.

    "Before all this craziness happened, everybody said I played like a beast," he added. "I'm back to playing real hard and playing like a beast."

    Pacers guard Stephen Jackson, who had 11 points in Friday's victory, doesn't think Artest will have any problem getting past the brawl and his recent comments.

    "Once he starts playing basketball and continues to play how he's been playing, a lot of the negativity will soon blow away," Jackson said.

    Artest was 8-of-12 from the field and had 18 points by halftime against Minnesota.

    Rashad McCants scored 14 points and Troy Hudson and Bracey Wright each had 12 for the Timberwolves, who played without Kevin Garnett (sore right knee) and Wally Szczerbiak (sprained foot). Garnett made the trip to Indiana, but stayed in the locker room to receive treatment.

    The Pacers were short-handed as well. Eight players missed the game with injuries, including starters Jermaine O'Neal (thigh bruise), Jamaal Tinsley (bruised back) and Jeff Foster (sore Achilles).

    Indiana took control in the second quarter after falling behind by 12 early. The Pacers used a 12-0 run to open a 53-45 lead with under two minutes left before the break. Indiana shot 73 percent (11-of-15) in the quarter and led 60-50 at halftime.

    The Timberwolves got within nine early in the second half, but Indiana pushed the lead to 75-58 after a basket by Artest with 1:40 left in the third quarter.

    Minnesota closed to 86-80 on two free throws by Lionel Chalmers in the fourth quarter, but Artest's layup and a Samaki Walker free throw sealed the win.

    Danny Granger had 12 points for Indiana and Damone Brown added 11.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press