By: Dan Slaubaugh
Happy Friday, everyone. The Timberwolves play twice this weekend: tonight at Indiana, and Sunday afternoon at Memphis. It might be a blessing to be on the road again, considering all their victories have come away from the Target Center.
The Wolves (4-4) are coming off back-to-back losses against Charlotte and Golden State. Rubio, Wiggins, and Garnett were unavailable for the first one, resulting in a loss. Rubio was also unavailable for the second one, though I'm not sure he could've propelled us to a victory over the defending champs, well, because, they still play like the defending champs and are now 10-0 on the year.
The Pacers (5-4) are coming off consecutive victories over the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics. Indiana is 27th in points scored per game (95.3) and 4th in points allowed per game (95.3), so it's tale of 2 stories on both ends of the court. Paul George, who plays power forward now, looks like he's back to his old 'self, averaging 23.8ppg, 8rpg, and 4.7apg. Former Wolves forward Glenn Robinson III is sort of getting rotational minutes (13.2mpg), averaging 3.8ppg. Another former Wolves forward, Chase Budinger, is averaging 4.1ppg and 2.1rbs in 15.9mpg.
What: Wolves @ Pacers
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indianapolis, Indiana.
When: 6:00pm CST
Where to watch: Fox Sports North
Where to listen: 830 WCCO Radio
What to watch for:
Bjelica vs. PG-13: Garnett is likely to sit tonight for Minnesota because they are on the end of a back-to-back, opening up big minutes for Bjelica to match up against PF Paul George. Bjelica is averaging 8.8ppg and 7.6rpg, while George is averaging 23.8ppg, 8rpg, and 4.7apg. George will be a tough matchup for Bjelica to defend, because of his length and athleticism. However, Bjelica has his own on defense this year so this should be a fun matchup to watch.
Rubio a go? Ricky has missed the last 2 games (hamstring) and is listed as probable for tonight's game. I'd hate for this to linger on with the Wolves being competitive. His health is THE factor in how competitive the Wolves are, so let's hope he returns sooner than later.
BazzBuckets: He struggled through the first 7 games of the season, but last night, he shined. Bazz crashed the boards, attacked the rim, and played with a certain swagger we all know he possesses. He finished with 16 points and 4 rebounds on 19 minutes of play. Last night may have been the jolt he needed to really jumpstart his season.
Points: Andrew Wiggins (19.7)
Rebounds: Karl-Anthony Towns (10.5)
Assists: Ricky Rubio (9)
Steals: Ricky Rubio (2.3)
Blocks: Karl-Anthony Towns (2.6)
Points: Paul George (23.8)
Rebounds: Paul George (8.9)
Assists: Monta Ellis (4.9)
Steals: C.J. Miles (2)
Blocks: Ian Mahinmi (1.8)
PG: Ricky Rubio
SG: Andrew Wiggins
SF: Tayshaun Prince
PG: George Hill
SG: Monta Ellis
SF: C.J. Miles
PF: Paul George
C: Ian Mahinmi
OUT: Nikola Pekovic (achilles)
Probable: Ricky Rubio (hamstring)
Questionable: Rodney Stuckey (ankle)
Questionable: Myles Turner (hamstring)
Enjoy the game tonight. Minnesota currently sits at the 5 spot in the Western Conference and is looking to move up with a win tonight. My gut feeling is this will be a back and forth game and will come down to the wire. My prediction: Wolves continue their resilience on the road defeating Indiana 102-96.