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