The Minnesota Timberwolves head into Friday's game vs. the Pacers will momentum, aplenty. Minnesota will be looking to match their longest winning streak all of last season with a win, while sending the Pacers to a third-straight loss.
Every time you hear or talk about the Timberwolves, at some point it comes back to the Wolves being without Kevin Love & Ricky Rubio. Despite being without their star players, Minnesota has had great success this season. The Indiana Pacers are without Danny Granger for (at least) the next three months. Granger received an injection earlier this week in his left knee for patellar tendinosis. Unlike the Timberwolves, the Pacers have struggled to remain competitive without their best player/scorer.
The Timberwolves may have also lost their best reserve. Point guard J.J. Barea went down in the Wolves' last game vs. the Orlando Magic. He dove out-of-bounds and over the scorers table in an attempt to save a loose ball, he rolled over on the table and immediately began clutching his ankle/foot. The Wolves are listing him as day-to-day with a mid-foot sprain. He'll be reevaluated before Friday's game, but I'd say it's doubtful that he plays.
The Pacers are also without deep reserve big man Jeff Pendergraph. Jeff is out with 'concussion-like' symptoms. It's uncertain whether or not he'll be able to play--obviously, it all depends on if he can past the (concussion) tests.
The Timberwolves are 3-1 and 2-0 at the Target Center this season. The Indiana Pacers are 2-3 overall and 1-3 away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Indiana Pacers currently (as of before Thursday's games) rank 27th in points per game: 90.0, 1st in rebounds per game: 50.8, 29th in assists per game: 17.2 and 9th in Points Allowed: 93.2.
The Minnesota Timberwolves currently (also as of before Thursday's games) rank 23rd in points per game: 93.8, 7th in rebounds per game: 45.0, 15th in assists per game: 21.8 and 5th in Points Allowed: 89.0.
The Indiana Pacers' last game came against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night. The result was an 86-89 Pacer loss. Indiana was up by fourteen points early in the fourth quarter, but the Hawks went on an 18-0 run that was fueled, in large part by Kyle Korver who at one point scored 8-straight points. The Hawks took the lead with under a minute to play and Paul George would miss a three-pointer at the buzzer (that would've sent the game to OT) and the Pacers lost another one. David West had 20pts, 6reb, 2ast and 1blk; George Hill added 20pts, 3reb, 5ast, 4stls and a block; Paul George finished with 13pts, 7reb, 2ast, 4stls and a block.
The Minnesota Timberwolves' last game was that win over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night. You can find a full gameday recap of that one in the previous post on this site (under the Gameday section).
Let's take a look at the projected starters for each squad...
The Minnesota Timberwolves have four players averaging over 9ppg. Clearly without Kevin Love's 26 points per game, the Wolves have had to balance the scoring attack and have done so quite nicely: Pekovic (14.0), Kirilenko (12.5), Ridnour (11.3), Budinger (11.0), Williams (9.8) and Barea (9.3).
The Indiana Pacers have won five of seven vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves including both matchups between these teams last season. The Wolves did win both preseason matchups in early October. Here's hoping they can take this one sans Kevin Love--when it really matters.
That's all for now, this one tips at 7pmCT from the Target Center and a full gameday recap can be found on this site following the final horn. Until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!