Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Pacers
Wolves (10-11) vs. Pacers (14-6) - 7 PM Target Center
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North
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 wasted little time bouncing back from Sunday’s home loss to the Lakers, putting together a one of their most complete games of the season against the Rockets on Monday. The All-Star candidate trio of Michael Beasley, Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio helped lead the Wolves to a record-setting third quarter on Monday, scoring 42 points in the period during a 120-108 victory at Houston’s Toyota Center.
Tonight, the Wolves look to build on that victory against a difficult Indiana Pacers squad. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Target Center.
By the numbers
The Pacers returned home last night after a three-game road trip and defeated the New Jersey Nets 106-99. Indiana is currently 8-3 in its past 11 games and sports an 8-5 overall road record. Tuesday’s win pulled Indiana within 2.5 games of the division-leading Chicago Bulls, and despite having the fewest home games of any Eastern Conference team this season, the Pacers have continued to find their rhythm. Lifetime against the Pacers, Minnesota is 14-6, with the last win coming during the 2010-11 season, 101-75.
What to watch for: third quarter bursts
Similar to Minnesota, Indiana seems to find its groove late in games, typically the third quarter. The Wolves, they showcased their third quarter execution on Monday, scoring a franchise-record 42 points on 62.5 percent shooting (15-for-24), including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. The Pacers however, struggled against New Jersey, turning the ball over four times early in the quarter. But Indiana got back on track midway through the third with a 12-0 run that was highlighted by Paul George’s reverse dunk off Lou Amundson’s steal, giving the Pacers both the lead and eventual win.
Battle at the boards
Wolves Minute Hosted By John Focke
Against the Nets, George scored a career-high 24 points and tallied seven rebounds en route to the win while the Pacers’ leading scorer Danny Granger finished with 21 points and seven rebounds. Center Roy Hibbert added 18 points and led the team with 14 rebounds on the night. Collectively, Indiana averages 44.8 rebounds while Minnesota has an average 43.5 rebounds per game, and tallied 40 against Houston Monday. With both Indiana and Minnesota demonstrating its strengths at the board, tonight’s matchup should make for a solid showing.
Former teammates reunite
Guard Wayne Ellington will face the Atlantic Coast Conference’s all-time leading scorer, his former North Carolina Tar Heels teammate, Tyler Hansbrough tonight. Both members of the 2009 draft class, Ellington and Hansbrough hold the Tar Heels record for most points scored by two players in a single season, Hansbrough (882), Ellington (647) for a combined 1,529 during the 2007-08 season. Each in their second professional year, Ellington has averaged 6.7 points per game with the Wolves while Hansbrough averages 9.5 points per game for Indiana.
Tonight, the Wolves will kick-off the Hardwood Classics and represent the 1967-68 uniforms worn by the American Basketball Association’s Minnesota Muskies. Indiana will again be wearing jerseys from the teams’ 1971-1974 seasons.
George Hill left the game late in the third against New Jersey after suffering a small fracture in his left ankle. Jeff Foster also will remain sidelined for Indiana due to a sore lower back. JJ Barea and Darko Milicic will be a game time decision for the Wolves. Barea continues to recover from a sprained left ankle while Milicic is out due to an illness.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.