Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers at Minnesota


Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers at Minnesota

SCOUTING THE PACERS: Entering the season, the power forward position was expected to be the most problematic. Lately, it's been the strength of the team. With athletic starter Josh McRoberts and bullish backup Tyler Hansbrough producing consistently, that position has been the last of the Pacers' problems. Hansbrough scored 26 on 11-of-14 shooting in Tuesday's 110-100 loss to Philadelphia. Indiana has lost four in a row, allowing at least 110 points in each. Minnesota has averaged 113.7 in its last seven games against the Pacers, so the defense will again be tested. The Pacers had to rally from a 90-83 deficit entering the fourth quarter to beat Minnesota 116-105 in Conseco Fieldhouse on Feb. 11. Dahntay Jones scored 19 points in the fourth quarter as the Pacers outscored the Wolves 33-15, shot 10-of-13 and held the visitors to 4-of-20 shooting while forcing five turnovers. That was one of 11 losses this season in which the Wolves have led or been tied heading into the fourth quarter.

SCOUTING THE TIMBERWOLVES: Despite a bruised knee that caused him to miss practice Tuesday, Kevin Love is expected to be on the floor tonight as he tries to set the NBA record for most consecutive double-doubles. Love has done so in 51 straight games, tying Moses Malone (1978-79 Houston). He's also trying to become the first player since Malone (with Philadelphia in 1982-83) to average at least 20 points and 15 rebounds in a season. Even with Love's massive productivity, however, Minnesota has gone 11-40 during his streak, including three straight losses and 11 of 13.

KEY MATCHUP: Love is warming to the historic occasion, averaging 21.0 points (on 51.6 percent shooting) and 20.3 rebounds in the last four games, and will provide a major challenge for the Pacers' power forward tandem of McRoberts and Hansbrough.

QUOTE MARKS: "I'd be jumping for joy if we were winning and everybody was playing great including myself. I'm just going out there and playing hard and it is just kind of happening for me. But it is kind of an afterthought because we aren't winning." – Love on his double-double streak.

INJURY REPORT: For the Pacers, Jeff Foster (sore back) is day-to-day and Mike Dunleavy (broken left thumb) is out. The Timberwolves are healthy.

BROADCAST INFO: The game will be telecast at 8 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 7:30. 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.