The Minnesota Timberwolves will have a fourth chance to move to .500 this season in tonight's game vs. the Indiana Pacers. The Timberwolves got back-on-track with a big win over the Houston Rockets on Monday. Now, they'll have the first chance to move to .500 since Dwane Casey was at the helm for Minnesota.
Both teams will be sporting some throwback jerseys (I'm going to add some pics to our 'Pictures' section of both teams' jerseys). Minnesota will be sporting those old-time ABA Muskies jerseys.
The Wolves had Tuesday off to rest--with no games or practice, however the Pacers will be playing a back-to-back after a win over the New Jersey Nets yesterday. Paul George scorched the Nets for a new career-high 24 points. Granger added 21pts and Roy Hibbert dominated the paint with 18pts & 14rebs for his 9th double-double of the season.
The Timberwolves are currently 10-11, while the Pacers have started the season strong at 14-6. The good news? Of those six losses, five of them came on the road and just one home loss to the Magic.
The Pacers added a starting power forward and traded for another big man a month ago. The Pacers signed former All-Star David West to a 2-year $20million contract. Hansbrough was moved to the bench as a sort of sixth man, while Indiana has a new frontcourt of 7-2 big man Hibbert and 6-9 West. David may be getting on in years and is coming off a knee injury, but he's no slouch and Love will definitely have his hands full. The other big man they traded for was former Warrior: Louis Amundson (they traded swingman Brandon Rush to get him). He'll be the backup center tonight with Jeff Foster out.
Taking a look at other injuries. Foster is out with a back injury. Roy Hibbert will play, though he's recovering from an ankle injury he suffered last week as well as a broken nose that got set before last night's game after breaking it in a win over the Boston Celtics. Reserve Guard George Hill is out indefinitely after coming down hard on his foot last night. According to the injury report--Hill has a small-chip fracture on his left ankle.
With those injuries it leaves the Pacers a little short at the five and at the guard. With Hill out A.J. Price, Lance Stephenson & Dahntay Jones will likely see more time and of course--with Foster out--expect to see more of Louis Amundson, Tyler Hansbrough & Jeff Pendergraph.
The Pacers are currently ranked 17th overall with just under 94 points a game while allowing opponents to score just over 90 points a game (7th overall). The Timberwolves have had their high scoring nights and their offensively stagnant nights--which currently puts them at 12th overall in the NBA scoring just under 97 points a game and allowing opponents 94.8 a game--which puts them at 15th in the League. The Wolves are therefore better on both ends--however their records are quite different! I'm interested to see if the Pacers will out-rebound a Kevin Love team--the Pacers are currently 2nd in the NBA at 44.8 a game. The Wolves sit at 7th in the NBA at 43.4--not far off but we'll see if Love, Beasley & Darko (or Pekovic) & Rubio can out-rebound George, Granger, West & Hibbert.
There's no reports on whether the Wolves will be getting Darko Milicic and J.J. Barea back--but I will provide an update before gametime (at the top of this post). If both return the Wolves will be have 14 healthy players (meaning they'll have to choose players to be inactive). I'd expect to see Darko tonight--if he's able to go I could really see Darko back in the starting lineup for his defense against Roy Hibbert in the post. J.J. is definitely much more questionable...stay tuned!
The key tonight will be the continued high-level play of Love, Beasley & Rubio. And really not just them--so long as the Wolves get points from players beyond Love, they have a VERY GOOD chance of being successful tonight and every game out.
That's all for now. Stay tuned for an updated injury report prior to gametime. Also, I'll have some pictures of both teams throwback jerseys very soon in the 'Pictures' section on this site. Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!