Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers vs. Timberwolves
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SCOUTING THE PACERS: With five wins in six games under coach Frank Vogel, the Pacers have surged into eighth place in the East with designs on climbing even higher. Their hopes were buoyed by a 104-103 victory over Charlotte Wednesday night, giving the Pacers the season-series tie-breaker against their closest competitor for the final playoff spot. Indiana (22-28) is one game behind seventh-place Philadelphia (24-28). Under Vogel, the Pacers have become a much more potent offensive team, averaging 107.0 points on .464 shooting. They've scored at least 100 in six straight games, their longest streak since the final 10 games of the 2008-09 season. With a renewed emphasis on attacking opponents inside, Roy Hibbert has come alive, tying his career high with 29 points against Charlotte, his second game in a row of at least 20 -- the first time that's happened this season. The Pacers have averaged 44.3 points in the paint under Vogel (up from 36.0 under Jim O'Brien) and 28.5 free-throw attempts (up from 21.9).
SCOUTING THE TIMBERWOLVES: Minnesota began its current trip with a 2-23 road record and injuries to two starters. But the team's fortunes have turned with consecutive victories over the Hornets (104-92 Monday) and Rockets (112-108 Tuesday) despite the absences of Michael Beasley (ankle) and Darko Milicic (hip). Kevin Love has simply ramped up his production with 47 points and 31 rebounds in the two victories, breaking Kevin Garnett's franchise record with his 38th consecutive double-double in Houston. Love's streak is the longest in the NBA since Moses Malone had 44 in a row with Philadelphia in 1982-83. This is the first matchup of the regular season with the Pacers, although Indiana won two preseason meetings. The Timberwolves are 4-16 all-time in Indianapolis.
QUOTE MARKS: "Extremely dangerous team. Great 3-point shooting team. Great offensive rebounding team. Because they're a great 3-point shooting team, they get you in scrambling situations, long closeouts, which allows them to penetrate the seams and that opens up their offensive rebounding. So we've got to guard the perimeter and we've got to hit people on the glass." -- Vogel on the Timberwolves
INJURY REPORT: The Pacers are healthy. Brandon Rush (sprained right ankle) missed the past seven games but has been cleared to return. For the Timberwolves, Michael Beasley (sprained left ankle) and Darko Milicic (strained hip flexor) are day to day, while Martell Webster (back spasms) and Luke Ridnour (personal reasons) are doubtful.
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BROADCAST INFO: The game will be telecast at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports Indiana with Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner calling the game and Stacy Paetz on the sideline, with a pre-game show starting at 6:30. The radio broadcast is anchored by the flagship of the Pacers' network, WIBC 93 FM, featuring Mark Boyle and Bob "Slick" Leonard, with Kevin Lee reporting.
INTERACT: You can chat with other fans around the country in our live game chat, which begins at tipoff.