Scouting Report: Wolves at Pacers

Wolves (25-36) at Pacers (38-22) - 6 PM Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Where to Watch: No Local/NBA League Pass
The team is hosting a viewing party at Buffalo Wild Wings in Roseville, which begins at 5:30 PM
Where to Listen: 830 AM WCCO

*Get your questions on the radio airwaves during halftime! Just tweet questions to @WolvesRadio and listen to the halftime show hosted by John Focke on WCCO 830 AM.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are nearing the final stretch of the regular season, and tonight’s matchup with the Indiana Pacers is the team’s second to last road trip of the year. When the two teams square off at 6 p.m. tonight at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, it will mark their second and final matchup of the season.

Each has something on the line.

For the Timberwolves, tonight is an opportunity to build off the complete game they played on Saturday against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Even in defeat—Minnesota lost 115-110 at Target Center—the Wolves battled from start to finish and put together a late rally even without injured forward Kevin Love, who missed his second straight game with a mild concussion and neck strain. A win tonight would end the team’s nine-game losing streak dating back to an 88-83 win over Charlotte on March 28.

Indiana continues to steamroll toward the postseason, and its main goal in its final six games is to fend off the Boston Celtics for the third spot in the East. The Pacers currently hold a 2.5 game advantage over the Celtics, and they’re doing their part to keep that lead recently. Indiana is 8-1 in its last nine games and is currently on a four-game winning streak. Their last win was a 105-99 victory in Milwaukee on Saturday.

The Pacers are 20-8 at home this season and are 12-5 against the Western Conference. The Wolves are 12-19 on the road.

Last time out

Indiana pulled away late in a 109-99 victory over the Wolves at Target Center on Feb. 1 thanks in large part to forward Danny Granger’s big game. Granger scored 36 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the win. He hit five 3-pointers, made 13-of-15 foul shots and scored 29 of his 36 points in the second half. Guard Darren Collison added 14 points and center Roy Hibbert had 15. Wolves forward Kevin Love finished with 21 points and 17 rebounds, guard Luke Ridnour had 16 points and center Nikola Pekovic had 13 points in 30 minutes off the bench.

Key matchup: Pekovic vs. Hibbert

The Pacers play physical—they showed it during a bruising game against Minnesota on Feb. 1. And no one embodies physicality on the Wolves’ roster like Pekovic, who has been a rock in the lane throughout the season. He’ll be tasked with matching up with Roy Hibbert tonight, a 7-foot-2 All-Star who certainly didn’t back down from contact against Pekovic and the Wolves last time out. Hibbert is averaging 13.6 points on 50 percent shooting and 9.2 rebounds this month. He’s coming off a 23-point, 14-rebound effort against Milwaukee on Saturday. Pekovic is averaging 13.1 points per game in April.

Injury report

Wolves Minute with John Focke

The Wolves will again be without forward Kevin Love, who did not travel with the team to Indiana. Also not with the team is center Darko Milicic, who has missed the past eight games with a strained right hamstring, and Luke Ridnour, who has missed the past six games with a sprained right ankle. Wolves guard Wayne Ellington (back spasms) did return on Saturday against Oklahoma City after missing two games but did not play.

Indiana guard Darren Collison is day to day with a sore groin.

Beasley, Randolph step up

Forwards Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph shined over the past week. Beasley scored 26 points on 13-of-21 shooting on Saturday against the Thunder, and on Thursday against the Clippers he put together a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Randolph has connected on 59 percent of his shots over his past three games—a stint in which he scored 28 against the Nuggets, 16 against the Clippers and 22 against the Thunder. He had five blocks against Denver on Wednesday and 11 rebounds against Oklahoma City on Saturday.

Granger heating up

Pacers forward Danny Granger is having his best month of the season in April. Granger, who is averaging 18.7 points per game this season, has upped that average to 22.8 this month. His 42 percent field goal percentage on the season has jumped to 50.7 percent in April, and he’s hitting 94.3 percent of his free throws (86.6 percent for the year). He has scored 20 or more points in seven of the team’s nine games this month. The Wolves will need a strong defensive effort to slow Granger down tonight.

You can become a part of the Wolves Radio Network by Howling at the Wolves during halftime! Just tweet questions to @WolvesRadio or @JWFocke and Studio Host John Focke and Coach Steve Brown will answer them on 830 WCCO and the Wolves Radio Network.
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