- Who: Minnesota Timberwolves (11-12) vs Indiana Pacers (13-11)
- When: 7:00 PM CST
- TV: Bally Sports North Extra (Michael Grady, Jim Petersen and Katie Storm)
- Radio: 830 WCCO-AM
- Line: Wolves -5 | Total: 237 (courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)
What to Watch for
Second and Final Battle Against Indiana
Minnesota and Indiana will battle for the second and final time this season, with the first matchup of the year taking place Nov. 23 in Indianapolis. The Wolves have had the Pacers’ number over the last few seasons, having won three straight games.
Wednesday’s matchup features two talented offenses, when both sides are at full strength which might not be the case at Target Center. Both Indiana and Minnesota enter Wednesday tied for eighth in the NBA with 115.0 points per game. The Wolves rank sixth in field goal percentage (48.3%) and 10th in assists (26.5), with the Pacers ranking tied for fifth in assists (27.6).
On the defensive end, Minnesota is still the superior team compared to Indiana, with the Wolves holding a defensive rating of 111.8 (tied for 16th) along with averaging 8.5 steals per game (fourth). The Pacers hold a defensive rating of 112.4, which ranks 19th in the league.
What Happened in Game One?
In the first battle between the Wolves and Pacers on Nov. 23 in Indiana, Minnesota put together one of its best performances of the season to that point while stealing a win on the road. It’s worth noting that game did feature the likes of Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyrese Haliburton, Myles Turner and a few others who are either questionable or out for this second matchup Wednesday.
The Wolves saw a balanced attack offensively in that victory in November, with Towns leading the charge with a team-high 23 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. Rudy Gobert posted 21 points and 16 boards, Anthony Edwards added 19 points and seven rebounds, while Jaden McDaniels posted 18 points and four blocks and D’Angelo Russell added 15 points and 12 assists.
For the Pacers, Turner took it to Minnesota with a game-best 31 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Bennedict Mathurin, one of the best names in the NBA, added 21 points off the bench while Buddy Hield had 13 points and Haliburton dropped 10 points and 14 assists in the loss.
One area Minnesota needs to focus on fixing is the turnover margin in the last game. The Wolves finished with 23 turnovers, accounting to 32 points for the Pacers on the other end.
Both Teams Dealing with Absences, Struggles
Both Minnesota and Indiana have dealt with some injuries and absences over the last few games which has resulted in both squads going from two of the hottest teams in the NBA in November to two struggling teams here in early December.
The Wolves will once again be without Towns, who will remain out with a right calf strain. Taurean Prince (shoulder subluxation) will also be out, but the good news is there is no mention of Jordan McLaughlin (calf strain) on Minnesota’s injury report ahead of Wednesday’s game.
The Pacers were without Haliburton and Turner in the starting lineup during a win over Golden State on Monday, while also missing T.J. McConnell, James Johnson, Chris Duarte and Daniel Theis. It will be interesting to see if those players play against the Wolves, and if they do, how healthy they will be Wednesday.
When it comes to the struggles for the Wolves and Pacers, Minnesota has lost four of its last five games after winning five in a row near the end of November, while Indiana has dropped three of its last four after going 7-3 near the end of November.
Specifically for the Wolves, obviously missing a talent like Towns has played a role in the recent struggles. Minnesota hopes it is able to right the ship and figure things out starting with the showdown against Indiana on Wednesday night.
- Taurean Prince — Right Shoulder Subluxation
- Karl-Anthony Towns — Right Calf Strain
- Tyrese Haliburton — Sore Groin
- James Johnson — Elbow Sprain
- T.J. McConnell — Non-COVID Illness
- Myles Turner — Right Hamstring
- Kendall Brown — Right Hamstring
- Chris Duarte — Ankle Sprain
- Daniel Theis — Knee Surgery