Monday, November 25, 2013 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Preview: Pacers (12-1) vs Timberwolves (8-7)
Scott Agness | Updated: November 25, 2013, 12:45 p.m.
The Pacers play every other day this week, beginning with the Minnesota Timberwolves at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Monday evening.
Last year’s Timberwolves had talent, but they were beat up with injuries all year long and finished with 31-51. Flip Saunders, the franchise’s coach from 1995-2005, returned to the team as president.
The Timberwolves are in the midst of playing four of five games on the road. The inside game will be critical for the Pacers against a very talented duo in Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic. Love is at full strength and putting up big numbers. He’s fourth in the NBA in scoring (24.9), just seven-tenths better than Paul George. He’s registered six consecutive double-doubles, but even more impressively, he’s had one in every game but one thus far.
On draft night, Minnesota drafted Trey Burke but then traded him to Utah in exchange for picks 14 and 21, which they use to pick up Shabazz Muhammed and Gorgui Dieng, respectively. In the offseason, they re-signed Pekovic to a five-year deal and added Ronnie Turiaf, Robbie Hummel, and former Pacers guard A.J. Price.
The Timberwolves average just under 107 points per game, the third-highest in the league, and they’re netting 81 percent of free throw shots attempted. They’re coming off an 11-point loss in Houston Saturday night, after a 111-81 throttling of the Brooklyn Nets the night before.
After some experimenting with his rotations, Frank Vogel plans to return to his typical lineups and everyone – besides Danny Granger – is healthy. The Pacers have three games this week, two at home, before jetting out West for a five-game road trip.
Pacers: Danny Granger (out, strained left calf)
Timberwolves: Shabazz Muhammed (questionable, sprained right ankle), Chase Budinger (out indefinitely, left knee), Ronny Turiaf (out indefinitely, right elbow)
“They’re similar statistically to what Philadelphia brings to the table, in terms of being a great fast breaking team, a great offensive rebounding team and a great steals team. Only they’re better in all of those areas and they have a ton more firepower.” – Frank Vogel on Minnesota “[Corey] Brewer is one of the best wing runners in the game. As soon as there is a deflection or a missed shot, he’s gone.” - Vogel
- Last two season’s meetings were split, with both teams winning at home. The Pacers have won four straight against the Timberwolves in Indianapolis, and are 19-4 all-time at home against Minnesota.
- Kevin Love was named Western Conference Player of the Week for the first week of the season, leading his team to a 3-0 record while averaging nearly 30 points and 15 rebounds per game, both league highs.
- The Pacers are 7-0 at home, where they're averaging 97 points per game while allowing only 82.7.
- Nearly 80 percent of Minnesota’s points have been scored by their starters – the second-highest percentage in the NBA. The Pacers are fifth (75.9 percent).
March 13: Roy Hibbert posted big numbers, finishing with 27 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks as the Pacers whipped the undermanned Timberwolves 107-91 in Indianapolis. The Pacers outscored Minnesota in every quarter, including a 35-28 first quarter to start the game, never trailed, and led by as many as 19.
David West also had a big night, scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 boards. Orlando Johnson added 12 off the bench. Minnesota, led by Ricky Rubio’s 21 points and 10 assists, was without Kevin Love, Chase Budinger, Andrei Kirilenko, Nikola Pekovic, and Brandon Roy.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: FM 107.5 The Fan (and 1070 AM, beginning at 8 p.m.), Pacers Radio Network – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)
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