Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 8:00 PM ET at Target Center
Game Preview: Pacers (41-12) at Timberwolves (25-28)
Wheat Hotchkiss | February 18, 2014
The Pacers (41-12) head to Minnesota on Wednesday for the second end of a back-to-back. Indiana is 8-6 so far this season when playing on the second night of a back-to-back, and 5-6 when playing the second game of a back-to-back on the road.
The well-rested Timberwolves (25-28) will be playing their first game in a week. Minnesota beat Denver 117-90 on Feb. 12 before the All-Star break. Prior to that game, the T-Wolves had lost four straight and six of seven.
Minnesota fans hoped that this would be the year the Timberwolves returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2003-04 season, but it's been a disappointing year so far. The T-Wolves are currently in 10th place in the Western Conference, six games back of the Warriors and Mavericks for the final two playoff spots.
For Wednesday's contest, Minnesota is expected to be without two of its top three scorers. Shooting guard Kevin Martin and center Nikola Pekovic, who average a combined 37 points per game, are both out indefinitely with injuries. The Timberwolves will have the services of All-Star Kevin Love, who ranks fourth in the NBA in scoring (25.8 points per game) and second in rebounding (13.2 per contest).
With the NBA trade deadline on Thursday afternoon, Minnesota has been the subject of many trade rumors. Any deal the Timberwolves make before Wednesday evening would leave them even more shorthanded against the Pacers.
After dropping two of three games before All-Star Weekend, the Pacers are looking to start the second half strong. Counting Tuesday's game against Atlanta, Indiana plays seven straight games against teams with losing records. This game in Minnesota and Saturday's contest in Milwaukee give the Pacers two very winnable road games that could spur the blue and gold to another lengthy winning streak.
Timberwolves: Kevin Martin (out, non-displaced fracture in left thumb), Nikola Pekovic (out, right ankle bursitis)
"We’ll worry about us. We’re going to take this show on the road. We talk about being a better road team. You have to be able to win tough road games in the playoffs. We have to come out with the right focus, the right intensity." -David West on facing Minnesota
"He's an elite offensive rebounder. We've got to keep him off the glass and make sure we're limiting him to one shot." -David West on Kevin Love
- The Pacers have won four of the last five regular season meetings with the Timberwolves.
- Timberwolves point guard A.J. Price played for the Pacers from 2009-12.
- Timberwolves forward Robbie Hummel was a three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection while at Purdue from 2007-2012.
- Orlando Johnson has rejoined the Pacers after a stint with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the D-League before the All-Star break.
November 25: Trailing 66-65 with 15 minutes remaining, the Pacers went on a 22-4 run to pull away from Minnesota for a 98-84 win. The Pacers shot 50 percent from the field on the night, while holding the Timberwolves to just 33 percent.
George Hill led Indiana with 26 points (a season high at the time), seven assists, and five steals. Paul George added 26 points while converting 4-of-4 attempts from 3-point range.
Kevin Love led Minnesota with 20 points and 17 rebounds, but shot just 6-of-20 from the field. Nikola Pekovic also had a double-double, finishing with 18 points and 11 boards. Kevin Martin chipped in 18 points on 4-of-14 shooting.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
ESPN - Mark Jones (play-by-play), Hubie Brown (analyst)
Radio: FM 107.5/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Michael Grady (studio host)