Scouting Report: Wolves at Pacers
Web Editorial Associate
Wolves (1-0) vs. Pacers (0-1) – 6 PM Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Where to Watch: No TV
Where to Listen: No radio
The Timberwolves started its preseason schedule on a good note with Wednesday night’s 84-70 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Fargo, N.D. A nearly sold out Fargodome crowd cheered on as a well-rounded Minnesota squad claimed the lead early and held on through the whole contest.
”It was pretty good, but there are still a lot of areas we need to concentrate on,” coach Rick Adelman said Thursday after practice. “[The Pacers] were missing a lot of their key people. I think the intent was there, and if we keep doing that, we’ll be alright.”
Minnesota will keep its sights on the same opponent, as the Timberwolves travel to Indianapolis on Friday to face off against the Pacers for the second time in three days. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
When asked what his team will do differently this time, Adelman kept it simple.
“We’ll try to do things a little bit better on both ends of the court,” he said.
Last time out
The Timberwolves victory on Wednesday night wasn’t just a preseason win—it was the first time that the Minnesota faithful got to see the team’s new additions suited up and playing in game action. And for the most part, the newcomers did not disappoint.
Brandon Roy started the game at shooting guard and shot 5-for-9 from the field with another three free throws to tally 13 points. He scored the first six points of the third quarter and looked capably mobile while doing it, something that everyone had their eye on after his documented knee issues. Roy played a solid 24 minutes and looked just as healthy as anyone else on the floor.
Andrei Kirilenko only scored three points, but he helped the Timberwolves’ box score in other ways with six rebounds and three steals. He’s a do-it-all forward who uses his length and constant activity to pester offensive rhythms. Chase Budinger had 14 points (including a fouled corner 3-pointer that resulted in a four-point play), and rookie guard Alexey Shved dropped in four assists with four rebounds. Returning big men Kevin Love (12 points, eight rebounds) and Nikola Pekovic (14 points, five rebounds) found success down low while each played less than 30 minutes.
Indiana, suffering injuries to key players like Danny Granger and George Hill, shot 34 percent from the field. Paul George (16 points) led the scoring effort and was the only Pacer that logged double figures in any statistic. Center Roy Hebert only scored five points and was largely stifled by Minnesota’s Nikola Pekovic throughout his time on the floor.
Key matchup: Brandon Roy and Paul George
Roy delivered a good debut as a Timberwolves player, now can he keep it up? The question isn’t if he can still play—it’s if he can consistently play over the length of a season. So far, he has insisted that his knees feel fine, and there haven’t been any setbacks. Coach Adelman hasn’t decided yet if Roy will play at all on Friday.
If he does, he’ll face off against the ultra-athletic Paul George, who led Indiana with 16 points on Wednesday night. It seems like George can do it all: dunk, rebound, shoot. We know Roy can shoot, but can he defend like he used to? Guarding George will put Roy to the test.
At practice on Thursday, coach Adelman said that Luke Ridnour will probably make the trip to Indiana. Whether he plays or not remains to be seen--JJ Barea got the start on Wednesday. Malcolm Lee will not make the trip and will stay behind to receive treatment.
The Pacers sat forward Danny Granger (knee) and guard George Hill (thumb) on Wednesday, and it is uncertain if either will play in tonight's game. Gerald Green and DJ Augustin, respectively, started in their places. Forward David West also sat during Wednesday's matchup, reportedly to give more playing time to Tyler Hansbrough and Jeff Pendergraph. He is expected to play tonight.
|Tonight's Projected Starters|
|PG||JJ Barea||DJ Augustin|
|SG||Brandon Roy||Paul George|
|SF||Andrei Kirilenko||Gerald Green|
|PF||Kevin Love||David West|
|C||Nikola Pekovic||Roy Hibbert|