Tim's Game Preview: Indiana Pacers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

"You know, they're so tough," Kevin Love said of Indiana. "They take those pills, and they've got all that toughness. I don't know where that comes from. They all think they're tough guys. I just don't know where that comes from. That just blows my mind. They're all tough. It makes me laugh."

Minnesota Timberwolves (25-36) vs. Indiana Pacers (38-22) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Even though it is a lockout-shortened season, the Indiana Pacers have won more games this season (38) than they have since the 2005-06 season, when they went 41-41. By winning %, this is the best Pacers season since '03/'04, when the Pacers won 61 games and lost to the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals.

When you consider that only two members of the team's core are over 30 years old - David West and Dahntay Jones are both 31 - the Pacers could be contending in the East for the next few years, especially as Boston fades away and Orlando takes a dive after Dwight Howard's departure.

The Wolves have not fared well against the Pacers in recent years, especially in Indianapolis. They lost 109-99 to the Pacers on February 1st and are 5-17 all time when visiting Indiana.

In the two games since Kevin Love was injured, Derrick Williams is 1-of-11 from the floor with 7 points, 6 rebounds, 4 turnovers and 8 fouls.

Projected Starting Lineups

C: Nikola Pekovic vs. Roy Hibbert
PF: Derrick Williams vs. David West
SF: Wesley Johnson vs. Danny Granger
SG: Martell Webster vs. Paul George
PG: J.J. Barea vs. George Hill

Anthony Randolph was posterized by his own teammate on that Martell Webster dunk against Oklahoma City.

Last 5 Games

Minnesota Timberwolves (5th in Northwest, 19 1/2 behind OKC; 12th in West, 7 1/2 behind HOU)

Sat, Apr 7: Loss at New Orleans 90-99
Mon, Apr 9: Loss vs. Phoenix 90-114
Wed, Apr 11: Loss at Denver 107-113
Thu, Apr 12: Loss vs. LA Clippers 82-95
Sat, Apr 14: Loss vs. Oklahoma City 110-115

Indiana Pacers (2nd in Central, 8 behind CHI; 3rd in East, 4 1/2 behind MIA)

Sat, Apr 7: Loss vs. Boston 72-86
Mon, Apr 9: Win vs. Toronto 103-98
Wed, Apr 11: Win at Cleveland 104-98 (OT)
Fri, Apr 13: Win vs. Cleveland 102-83
Sat, Apr 14: Win at Milwaukee 105-99

Wayne Ellington is likely to be 'back' in the rotation tonight.

Injuries

Minnesota Timberwolves

Kevin Love - Out indefinitely with a strained neck, mild concussion symptoms

Darko Milicic - Out indefinitely with a strained right hamstring

Luke Ridnour - Out indefinitely with a sprained right ankle

Ricky Rubio - Out for the remainder of the season

Indiana Pacers

Darren Collison - Doubtful with a sore groin

Giving up the lead against Memphis on Saturday night may come back to haunt the Jazz' playoff chances and the Wolves' 1st round pick chances.

Utah Watch

Utah lost to the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night, 98-103, after blowing a 6-point lead going into the 4th quarter. The loss dropped the Jazz to 1 1/2 games behind Houston for the 8th seed. The Rockets have lost 3 straight.

Utah has 5 games remaining, including tonight at home against Dallas.

As someone who was in favor of the Webster for Gomes/Babbitt trade at the time, it appears that I was wrong once again.

Noteworthy Stats

  • Indiana is last in the league in assists per game at 18.3. Minnesota is tied for 24th at 19.6. Milwaukee leads the league in that category at 23.9.
  • Luke Babbitt: TS% .617; PTS Per-36 15.1; WS/48 .112
    Martell Webster: TS% .532; PTS Per-36 10.2; WS/48 .068
    Wesley Johnson: TS% .469; PTS Per-36 9.7; WS/48 .015
    Ryan Gomes: TS% .371; PTS Per-36 6.3; WS/48 -0.020
  • Minnesota Timberwolves' record, under David Kahn, by month:
    October: 2-3 (.400)
    November: 4-25 (.138)
    December: 9-26 (.257)
    January: 17-31 (.354)
    February: 14-26 (.350)
    March: 11-35 (.239)
    April: 0-22 (.000)
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