Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 10/14

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

Pacers 93

(4-1, 1-1 away)

Timberwolves 76

(1-4, 0-2 home)

    7:00 PM ET, October 20, 2005

    MetraPark, Billings, MT

    1 2 3 4 T
    IND 23 24 20 2693
    MIN 18 27 16 1576

    O'Neal leads Pacers to win in preseason debut

    BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) -- Jermaine O'Neal made his preseason debut in style Thursday, scoring a team-high 16 points as the Indiana Pacers defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 93-76.

    Yet O'Neal said he felt rusty, missing a lot of shots he normally would have made. He didn't even try a 3-pointer.

    "But it's coming," he said. "It's coming."

    O'Neal missed the team's first four preseason games with a bruised thigh, and is among a number of players who've been grappling with injuries this year. But he put himself at 100 percent Thursday.

    Anthony Johnson and Jamaal Tinsley, who have also dealt with injuries, started Thursday. Ron Artest missed the game with a sore right foot.

    Still, the Pacers (4-1) are off to a strong start in preseason play, something O'Neal attributed to the team's depth and experience. This year, he said the Pacers could be an "extremely tough team to beat."

    The Timberwolves (1-4) kept the game close most of the way, though they didn't lead at any point after the first quarter. In the fourth, the Pacers pulled away after a 3-pointer by Sarunas Jasikevicius.

    Both teams ended the game with a comparable number of turnovers, though Minnesota had a handful of players in foul trouble -- Rashad McCants fouled out and three others had at least four personal fouls.

    Austin Croshere added 13 points for Indiana, followed by Danny Granger with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

    Michael Olowokandi led the Timberwolves with 18 points, while Kevin Garnett added 11 points and five rebounds. Marko Jaric, playing his first preseason game, scored four points.

    Jaric, who sprained an ankle in practice earlier this month, said he felt good about where the team's at, in terms of balance and being on the right track. He said the more-experienced Pacers took advantage of the younger Minnesota team.

    "Our younger guys are a little inexperienced, but it's gonna come," said Jaric, who came to Minnesota this summer in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers.

    The Pacers also were without Fred Jones (flu). Minnesota did not have Troy Hudson (strained left hip flexor) and Wally Szczerbiak (sprained right foot).

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press