Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Pacers
Web Editorial Associate
Wolves (3-1) vs. Pacers (2-3) — 7:00 PM, Target Center
Where to Watch: My 29
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
Got questions during tonight’s game? Send them to Wolves Radio via Twitter using the hash tag #WolvesRadio!
Off to their best start since 2001, the Minnesota Timberwolves will hope to keep their momentum rolling against the Indiana Pacers tonight. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. on M29 and 830 WCCO-AM.
Indiana gave up an 18-0 run in the fourth quarter and eventually lost Wednesday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks, 89-86. Up by as much as 14 early in the fourth, the Pacers suffered a barrage of Atlanta 3-pointers and surrendered the contest. The loss was only more bad news for Indiana, as Danny Granger’s expected three-month absence was announced earlier in the day. David West and George Hill each scored 20 for the Pacers; Paul George had 13.
Minnesota seized the top spot in the Northwest Division with a 90-75 win over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night. In a game where the Magic never led at any point, Luke Ridnour helped lead the Timberwolves to their third victory this season with 19 points and five rebounds. Derrick Williams added 14 points and six boards, and bench center Greg Stiemsma shot an efficient 6-for-7 from the field en route to 12 points, five rebounds and two blocks.
Last Time Out: October 12, 2012
The Wolves and Pacers traded preseason wins to start the season, the most recent being a 96-91 win by Indiana. Paul George scored 19 points and collected six rebounds to lead the Pacers, supplemented by Gerald Green [18 points] and Ian Mahinmi .
Even though they shot 48 percent compared to Indiana’s 44, Minnesota took 20 fewer shot attempts and simply made fewer baskets. Derrick Williams dropped 25 points in the loss, and bench players Chase Budinger and Lou Amundson had 14 and 10 points, respectively.
Andrei Kirilenko was brought to Minnesota this summer with several purposes in mind, one of which was his potential as a defensive stopper. Known throughout the last ten seasons as a premier defender, Kirilenko’s abilities will be tested by the athletic Paul George.
George, a third-year player drafted out of Fresno State, is tied for Indiana’s second-highest scoring average and is first among rebounders, averaging nearly 10 boards per game. The latter statistic is impressive, considering he spends much of his time out on the wing.
Kirilenko, meanwhile, has enjoyed a stat-stuffing beginning to his season. He ranks second on the Wolves in points scored, first in blocks, first in rebounds and first in field goal percentage. Aside from his box score brilliance, Kirilenko is usually counted on to defend the opponent’s top wing threat. The crafty Kirilenko will match up against super-athlete George for an interesting contrast of styles on Friday night.
The Pacers come into tonight’s game having lost one of their marquee players for three months. Forward Danny Granger is expected to miss three months after receiving an injection in his left knee to treat patellar tendinosis. Granger averaged 18.7 points per game last year. The Pacers are still trying to figure out their small forward rotation without Granger, switching between former Wolves forward Gerald Green and Sam Young. Green started the first three games of the season before Young was inserted into the lineup for the last two.
For the Timberwolves, guard JJ Barea missed practice yesterday with a left mid-foot sprain suffered during the second half of Wednesday's win against the Magic. He is day to day and no official word has been said whether or not he'll play tonight.
|Tonight's Probable Starters|
|PG||Luke Ridnour||George Hill|
|SG||Brandon Roy||Paul George|
|SF||Andrei Kirilenko||Sam Young|
|PF||Derrick Williams||David West|
|C||Nikola Pekovic||Roy Hibbert|