After an inconsistent start, the Indiana Pacers are playing their best basketball of the season just in time to face a team they've dominated in recent years.

Indiana looks to win its fifth straight home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves when the teams meet on Saturday at Conseco Fieldhouse.

The Pacers have won 12 of 14 home meetings with the Timberwolves since 1991, with an average victory margin of 15 points. Overall, Indiana (15-13) has won 21 of the last 28 matchups between the two teams, while averaging 103.9 points per game during that stretch - their highest scoring average against any opponent.

The Pacers have also won four of their last five games overall and six of nine, including Friday's 100-90 win over the Atlanta Hawks. Stephen Jackson scored a season-high 27 points and Al Harrington added 20 points against his former team.

``We just wanted to get back on a winning streak,'' Harrington said. ``So far, we've got two in a row and we've got one more tomorrow. The guys put me in position to be able to score tonight.''

Jermaine O'Neal was held to 16 points after setting season highs in his previous two games - 31 against the Jazz on Sunday and 34 versus Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Coach Rick Carlisle said O'Neal was receiving fluids via I.V. at halftime. The forward had been bothered by the flu when a stomach ailment affected the team less than two weeks ago, but there was no word if the incidents were related.

O'Neal has been a big part of Indiana's recent success against the Timberwolves. While he is averaging just 10.3 points in 21 career games versus Minnesota, he is averaging 19.3 in nine starts.

The Pacers are looking for their first three-game winning streak of the season. Indiana is a solid 8-3 at home this season, but lost its most recent game at Conseco Fieldhouse, 104-94 on Sunday to the Utah Jazz.

While Indiana has been surging, Minnesota (10-13) is struggling.

The Timberwolves enter Saturday's game having lost four straight, including a 113-107 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday. Mike James led Minnesota with 28 points, while Kevin Garnett added 24 points and a team-high 14 rebounds.

This is the Minnesota's worst losing streak since dropping seven straight from March 7-16.

Minnesota will likely need improved defense to get back on track. Timberwolves opponents are averaging 106.8 points per game during the losing streak, after scoring an NBA-low 92.6 points in the month of November.

``At the end of the day, our bread and butter is our 'D,''' Garnett said. ``And we have to get back to that.''


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