UPDATE (10/12 @11:05amCT): Luke Ridnour made the trip to Indiana, but won't play. His back is doing better, but he's decided to wait and see if he can play tomorrow (Saturday) vs. the Chicago Bulls. Malcolm Lee didn't make the trip to Indiana, he's still dealing with a groin injury, no word on whether he can/will play tomorrow vs. the Bulls. Ricky Rubio did make the trip to Indy, but don't get too excited, he's there for "moral support". With Luke & Malcolm out, expect J.J. Barea to start at point guard and Will Conroy to be the backup point guard.
The Minnesota timberwolves are now 1-0 this (pre)season following Wednesday night's win over the Pacers at the FARGODOME. The Pacers were without three of their Top 4 players, which fueled an easy win for the TWolves.
The Timberwolves may not have it as easy Friday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana. It's unknown if the Pacers will be at full-strength. Wednesday, they were without George Hill, Danny Granger and David West. In their place D.J. Augustin, Gerald Green and Tyler Hansbrough were the starters...which obviously left the Pacers bench a bit sparse on talent. Their second unit consisted of Blake Ahearn, Orlando Johnson, Sam Young, Jeff Pendergraph and Ian Mahinmi.
Minnesota was also without three of their players. Ricky Rubio continues to rehab his knee. We of course won't see him at all during the preseason. He'll likely make his debut in late-December/early-January. Luke Ridnour didn't travel to Fargo either. He has been dealing with some back spasms the past couple days. Hopefully he'll be able to return on Friday, as of right now, I'm not sure. Stay tuned for an update before tipoff. If he's able to play, I assume he'll be the starting point guard (returning J.J. Barea to the bench). Lastly, Malcolm Lee has been dealing with some 'groin tightness' and didn't play Wednesday either. Because the Wolves were so short on point guards, J.J. Barea was in the starting lineup and Will Conroy was the main backup (playing 19 minutes). When Luke & Lee return you can expect those minutes to shrink considerably (if Conroy plays at all). Though, this is a prime example of why Conroy may make the team. With Rubio out for another couple months and questions as to whether Ridnour, Barea and Lee can stay healthy, Conroy will/could be an insurance policy.
We should know shortly who will and won't be available for Friday's game. Being that whoever is on the plane heading for Indiana will be available to play. For the Pacers, it will likely be gametime decisions for Hill, Granger and West.
The TWolves forced a lot of Pacer turnovers (25) and had Indiana shooting 35% from the field. I think you can expect a victory for the Wolves every time out if they force their opponents into those kinds of mistakes.
I said it in the recap and I'll say it again! It was just plain fun to see the new-look Wolves take the floor! Seeing B-Roy, AK47 and Shved (among plenty of others: Budinger, Cunningham, Amundson and Stiemsma) play as well as seeing the improvement from returners Nikola Pekovic and Derrick Williams...the TWolves will become must-see TV, once again.
Let's take a look at each's teams projected starting lineups (for what it's worth)...
The statistics listed are from Wednesday night's game. Hence the reason I put in the same starting lineups. You can expect Luke Ridnour to start in place of J.J. if he's able to go. George Hill to replace D.J., Danny Granger to replace Green and David West to replace Hansbrough.
I'm definitely hoping that Hill, Granger and West can play. It'll give the TWolves a look at one of the best (projected) team's in the Eastern Conference, heading into this season. I guarantee, if those guys play or even one or two of them, the Pacers aren't going to be blown out by 14.
Tipoff is set for 6pmCT, Friday night at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana. A full gameday recap can be found following the final horn! Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!