Wolves @ Pacers Gameday
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Wolves @ Pacers 6:00 PM - Conseco Fieldhouse
Where to Watch: FS North
Where to Listen: 1130 AM
*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 1130 AM.
* Luke Ridnour (personal reasons) - OUT
* Martell Webster (back spasms) - OUT
* Michael Beasley (left ankle sprain) - DAY-TO-DAY
* Darko Milicic (hip flexor strain) - DAY-TO-DAY
Fearing a precipitous drop to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, team president Larry Bird made a coaching change midseason by dismissing Jim O'Brien. Falling in seven of his last eight games at the helm certainly didn't help O'Brien's cause along with the inconsistent lineups that did not feature rookie Paul George or second-year big man Tyler Hansbrough. Bird appointed assistant coach Frank Vogel as the replacement for the rest of the season. The new voice on the sidelines is either a breath of fresh air or fundamental changes have resulted in a revitalized and suddenly hot Pacers squad. Since Vogel took the reins, Indiana has won five of six games and clinging to the eighth spot in the East standings. The team faces a nice stretch of home games on the horizon while holding an overall record of 22-28.
Last Time Out
The Pacers edged Charlotte 104-103 on Wednesday night at Conseco Fieldhouse. Roy Hibbert delivered a career performance with 29 opints and 10 rebounds in a crucial win as both teams jockey for the final spot in the playoffs.
The Wolves outscored Houston 29-23 in the fourth quarter to record their second straight road victory and snapped a 13-game losing skid to the Rockets. Kevin Love surpassed John Stockton and Kevin Garnett with his 38th consecutive double-double in the impressive 112-108 win.
The Numbers Game
The Minnesota bench has played a major role in the last two victories in New Orleans and Houston. Without four of their five top scorers, the Wolves bench averaged 47.5 points per game in the two contests, leading to a balanced offensive attack.
Match-up to Watch
Wolves frontcourt vs. Roy Hibbert
Darko Milicic was forced to leave Monday's game due to a hip flexor injury and missed the contest against Houston and yesterday's practice session. His potential absence in the lineup leaves Minnesota thin on the frontline and without a solid defender on the 7-2 Roy Hibbert. Nikola Pekovic and Kosta Koufos will have to refrain from silly fouls and limit Hibbert's impact deep inside the paint. Through 43 games, Hibbert only averaged 12.9 points per game, a number far below the production Indiana covets for its centerpiece in the middle. The former Georgetown standout is on a tear after the coaching change, averaging 18.6 points in his last six games and providing the post presence the Pacers hoped for when they drafted him 17th overall in 2008.
What to Look For
Over the last two road games, the Wolves seemed to grow as a unit amid all the injuries. Michael Beasley did not practice yesterday and Milicic's status remains unclear for the matchup against Indiana tonight. Luke Ridnour (personal reasons) and Martell Webster (back spasms) are back in Minnesota, so the bench will need to elevate its play once again for the Wolves to snatch their third straight victory away from the Target Center. Minnesota must win the battle on the glass as Indiana is rebounding the ball extremely well over the last six games with a steady dose of Hibbert and McRoberts. The Wolves will also face a difficult defensive assignment at the small forward position. Danny Granger is considered one of the up-and-coming 3's in the league and will test rookie Wes Johnson, Corey Brewer, and Lazar Hayward on the wing.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Jonah on Twitter.