After falling to the Milwaukee Bucks at home, the Pacers (9-13) are taking a quick trip to Minneapolis to square off against the Minnesota Timberwolves (10-10) for the first time this season. This is the final road contest for the Blue & Gold before a run of six straight at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Although they stumbled a bit out of the gate, Minnesota has rallied to earn an even record over its first 20 games of the season. The squad has won six of their last seven, including a 121-120 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night. Unlike Indiana, Minnesota will not be playing on the second night of a back-to-back. The Blue & Gold will have to find ways to slow down the three-headed monster that the Timberwolves have built over time.
Despite the team's past struggles, Timberwolves fans have always relied on Karl-Anthony Towns to help the squad stay competitive. In his seventh year with the team, the big man is averaging 23.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game while shooting 50.8 percent from the floor. To add, he has also improved his long-range game. The veteran is currently averaging a career-best 44.6 percent shooting from deep. Stopping the two-time All-Star is going to take a team effort from the Pacers.
The versatile center receives help in the form of his two teammates in the front court, young star Anthony Edwards and veteran D'Angelo Russell. Edwards, the first overall pick of last year's NBA draft, is showing improvement across all major offensive statistical categories. He averages the most shots on the team (19.3), and consistently creates ways to score. The former Georgia Bulldog is averaging career-highs in points (22.1), rebounds (6.6), and assists (3.5) for the Timberwolves. Meanwhile, Russell provides another steady veteran presence for Edwards to lean on in times of strife. The 2018-19 All-Star has provided 19.3 points and 5.8 assists per game for the squad. Together, the trio of Towns, Edwards, and Russell are producing an average of 59.4 percent of Minnesota's points per game.
Despite the loss to the Bucks, fans saw Caris LeVert continue to make strides towards becoming fully healthy again. The seven-year pro notched a season-high 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting against Milwaukee in 26:38 of playing time. At times, he appeared to be the only Pacer to crack the Bucks' staunch defense. Look for LeVert to create more opportunities against the Timberwolves, who rank 11th in defensive rating (106.5 points per 100 possessions) as of Monday.
Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Caris LeVert, SF - Justin Holiday, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Myles Turner
Timberwolves: PG - D'Angelo Russell, SG - Anthony Edwards, SF - Taurean Prince, PF - Jarred Vanderbilt, C - Karl-Anthony Towns
Pacers: Myles Turner - questionable (non-COVID illness), T.J. Warren – out (left foot stress fracture)
Timberwolves: Jaden McDaniels - questionable (flu-like symptoms), Jarred Vanderbilt - questionable (flu-like symptoms), Patrick Beverley - out (left adductor strain)
April 7, 2021: Despite the absence of three starters, the Pacers erupted for 77 first-half points to take a 21-point lead into halftime, then held off Minnesota down the stretch, 141-137, in a shootout. Indiana finished a scorching 55-of-93 (59.1 percent) from the floor and 14-of-28 (50 percent) from deep.
Brothers Aaron and Justin Holiday finished with 22 and 21 points, respectively, shooting a combined 9-for-12 from 3-point range. Younger brother Aaron finished a perfect 4-of-4 from beyond the arc while playing in 22 minutes off the bench. T.J. McConnell added 19 points and a season-high tying 15 assists, while Caris LeVert tallied 18.
While it was all Pacers in the first half, Minnesota made things interesting during the final moments of the game. With Indiana leading 112-94, the Timberwolves scored 11 straight points — all from then-rookie Anthony Edwards. Edwards started the spree with a three, and followed with four straight layups to bring Minnesota back to within seven. Although Justin Holiday responded with back-to-back threes, the Timberwolves made another charge. Edwards' basket with 4:26 to play capped a 15-7 run for the visitors.
D'Angelo Russell's three-point play with 50.6 seconds remaining cut Indiana's lead to three. However, the Pacers received help in an unlikely form. Justin Holiday spotted a wide-open T.J. McConnell along the baseline for a trey. McConnell fired his shot as the shot-clock sounded, and drilled his eighth made 3-pointer of the season. The momentum allowed the Blue & Gold to finish the game without another problem.
- The Pacers have won five straight against Minnesota dating back to 2018. They are 13-11 on the road against the squad.
- This game will feature three players who played collegiately at the University of Washington (Jaden McDaniels, Jaylen Nowell, and Justin Holiday).
- Domantas Sabonis recorded his career-high in points (36) against the Timberwolves on Feb. 17, 2021.
The Pacers open a six-game homestand against Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Wednesday, Dec. 1 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »
Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »
TV: Bally Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)