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Game Preview #57: Wolves vs Pacers

Minnesota gets their first look at a newly revamped Pacers team.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Minnesota Timberwolves Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

Who: Minnesota Timberwolves (29-27) at Indiana Pacers (19-38)
When: 2:00pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North / NBA League Pass
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio
Line: Wolves -6.0



What to Watch For

The Minnesota Timberwolves’ defense has reverted back to the black hole that we’ve all grown accustomed to. The Pacers. a struggling team that is doing a soft rebuild, could present Minnesota an easy spot to get things going though,.

Guard Musical Chairs

I am be in the minority here but one of the things that’s enamored me as of late with Minnesota is the guard rotation. With the emergence of Jordan McLaughlin and Jaylen Nowell while the other’s have gotten healthy it’s led to a crowded backcourt. D’Angelo Russell, Patrick Beverley, Anthony Edwards, Malik Beasley, Jordan McLaughlin, and Jaylen Nowell are all deserving of minutes but unfortunately someone’s usually led to being pinched out of the rotation or received limited minutes. In the past two games Jaylen Nowell has been on the receiving end of the shortened minutes/DNP’s.

Changing of the Guard

Speaking of guards, Indiana traded in their star center Domantas Sabonis for Tyrese Haliburton at the deadline. This has led them to a revamped guard rotation. If he’s healthy, Minnesota would be up against Malcolm Brogdon, Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Heild. Chris Duarte, and Wolves legend Lance Stephenson. The Brogdon and Haliburton duo should be very fun and cause a lot of problems for every team they play against on both ends.

Chasing Denver

This will be a theme for the rest of the season (change Denver to Dallas and/or Utah once Minnesota passes them). The fun part of this season has been that there’s a realistic chance ends up in the playoffs, outside of the play-in, and potentially if things go right in a crazy way, with home court advantage. All of these games that Minnesota should win will count going forward and a loss will be a setback for each goal.


Status report

Minnesota looks to be fully staffed minus two-way player McKinley Wright who’d likely be getting DNP’s or be in Iowa if he was healthy.

Meanwhile, Indiana has a laundry list of injury report members featuring starters Malcolm Brogdon and Myles Turner.

Predictions:

With Myles Turner and Isaiah Jackson out as well as Sabonis traded, Karl-Anthony Towns and Naz Reid are in a spot to feast on Indiana’s big man rotation of Goga Bitadze and Tristan Thompson. Similarly, with Justin Holiday and Torrey Craig gone the forwards should benefit from Oshae Brissett being the only solid forward defender in Indy’s rotation.

Minnesota should be able to out-offense Indiana with both teams likely leaning towards an offensive only game. My prediction is Minnesota wins 120-105.