Indianapolis Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle has been looking for consistency from his offense all season.
He saw it for the first time Tuesday night in a 98-75 victory over Minnesota.
Ron Artest had 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists to lead six Pacers in double figures. The most complete offensive performance to date yielded Indiana's sixth win in a row.
The balanced scoring was a welcome sight for Carlisle, who has watched his team struggle through long scoring droughts in most games this season.
"We were able to score efficiently, which is a good sign," Carlisle said. "We're making some improvement and that's what it's all about."
Jermaine O'Neal had 17 points, nine rebounds and six blocks and Jeff Foster added 10 points and nine boards to help NBA-leading Indiana improve to 12-2.
Add to that another strong defensive effort -- the Pacers are holding opponents to a league-leading 81.4 points a game -- and it made for a long night for the Timberwolves.
"We got our butts whipped tonight, what can I say?" Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "There's a reason why they're 12-2."
Kevin Garnett led the cold-shooting Timberwolves with 25 points and 16 rebounds.
The Pacers led by as many as 23 midway through the third quarter before the Timberwolves mounted a comeback.
O'Neal went to the bench with his fourth foul with 5:18 to play in the third, and Minnesota went on a 20-4 run to cut the lead to 69-61 with under two minutes to play in the quarter.
The Pacers responded with a 10-0 run of their own early in the fourth to regain control.
Latrell Sprewell went scoreless in 38 minutes, going 0-for-8 from the field thanks to another stellar defensive performance by Artest.
Mavericks 124, Bulls 98
Dallas -- Nothing changed for Chicago in its game after coach Bill Cartwright's firing. The Bulls lost again.
Michael Finley scored a season-high 28 points to lead Dallas, handing the Bulls (4-11) their sixth straight loss and first with interim coach Pete Myers.
Finley scored 13 of his points in a 33-15 third-quarter run in which the Mavericks made 12 straight shots.
Dirk Nowitzki added 19 points and nine rebounds for the Mavericks, who won their fourth straight and are undefeated in eight home games.
Heat 91, Hornets 87
Miami -- Eddie Jones and Brian Grant each hit two free throws in the final 15 seconds to help Miami beat New Orleans. The victory was the Heat's first over the Hornets since April 2001, breaking a seven-game regular-season losing streak. Jones led the Heat with 25 points, and Lamar Odom added 19. Baron Davis scored 28 points for the Hornets.
Bucks 95, 76ers 91
Milwaukee -- Michael Redd scored 26 points and rookie T.J. Ford had a season-high nine assists for Milwaukee. Joe Smith had 16 points and nine rebounds, Desmond Mason added 13 points, and Tim Thomas had 12 points despite playing only a minute in the fourth quarter after spraining his left ankle. Allen Iverson led the 76ers with 28 points.
Nuggets 110, Suns 80
Denver -- Carmelo Anthony scored 17 points, leading seven Denver players in double figures. Voshon Lenard and Francisco Elson each had 16 points. Reserves Earl Boykins and Rodney White scored 15 points each. Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire matched his season high with 25 points and also had 13 rebounds.
Kings 109, Grizzlies 89
Sacramento, Calif. -- Peja Stojakovic scored 26 points and Sacramento beat Memphis for the eighth straight time and 18th time in 19 meetings. Mike Bibby added 16 points and six assists and Vlade Divac had 15 points for Sacramento, which remained unbeaten at home. Pau Gasol had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Grizzlies.
Wizards 81, Blazers 80
Portland, Ore. -- Larry Hughes' driving layup with 10.4 seconds left gave Washington a victory and snapped the Trail Blazers' six-game home winning streak. Hughes had 22 points to lead Washington. Zach Randolph led the Blazers with 24 points and 15 rebounds.
Nets 93, Sonics 70
Seattle -- Jason Kidd had a triple-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for New Jersey after missing the Nets' previous game because of a sore left knee. Kenyon Martin had season highs with 27 points and 14 rebounds as the Nets opened a five-game Western road trip one day after learning center Alonzo Mourning was retiring because his life-threatening kidney illness had worsened. Rashard Lewis led Seattle with 14 points.