Pacers at Wolves
7:00 pm CST
FS North Plus
The Pacers come to town for the only time this season, their 16-12 record placing them in the giant scrum of teams in the East that have between 11 and 13 losses and line up behind the Cavs in spots 2 through 10 in the conference. They are riding a three game losing streak that they will look to snap at the expense of the Wolves.
The Pacers are a quality team, in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive ratings, and have successfully re-engineered their style under Frank Vogel, who probably does not get enough credit as one of the best coaches in the league. They used to succeed with a slow pace, a fantastic defense backed by a traditional rim protector, and a limited offense. Now they play at the 8th fastest pace in the league, have revamped their offense to take advantage of Paul George while remaining a top defensive team despite changes in personnel.
Notably, though only average in attempts, the Pacers are 3rd in 3P% behind George, George Hill, and C.J. Miles, all of whom hover around 40% from three and account for about 60% of their attempts. George is having a terrific season, carrying a huge load offensively for the pacers while also playing his usual excellent defense. Like many good teams, one of the reasons the Pacers succeed is that they don't give minutes to truly bad players.
In the first meeting between these teams, the Pacers handed the Wolves their first road loss of the season back on November 13th. Ricky Rubio missed that contest, and Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins led the Wolves with 26 points each. The Pacers built a big lead in that one, but the Wolves stormed back to make it a contest in the 4th quarter when Andre Miller entered the game and shifted LaVine to the off-guard spot. They were ultimately unable to get over the hump, however, and the Pacers hung on 107-103.
It was one of the few games this season that the opponent has had more free throw attempts than the Wolves, and that's another feature of the Pacers--they rarely foul. That's a tough match up for the Wolves who rely on free throws for a lot of their offense, so how this one gets called will be a big factor.
I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas and that you are ready to get refocused on the Wolves. I'm hoping for a good one tonight.
Our blogging buddies are over at Indy Cornrows. Be excellent.
No no and no.
Enjoy, chat, go.