Indiana Pacers Preview: On the road to Minnesota


The Blue & Gold are back in action tonight as the Indiana Pacers travel to face the Minnesota Timberwolves, looking to rebound from Wednesday’s loss.

WHO: Indiana Pacers (16-12) @ Minnesota Timberwolves (11-18)
WHEN: Tonight, 8 pm ET / 7 pm CT
WHERE: Target Center (Minneapolis, MN)

RADIO: 1070 the Fan

The Pacers
After a disappointing loss midweek to the Sacramento Kings, the Indiana Pacers have some bouncing back to do, again with defense the focus.

The 108 points the Pacers gave up Wednesday were the most since falling to the Golden State Warriors on Dec. 8 and showed that even at home the team isn’t up to speed. Granted, Rajon Rondo was a force to work against with 16 assists and some dimes that would make your eyes pop out, but still. The point stays that Indiana needed to be better to win, and they weren’t.

The Pacers are still in the top-7 in scoring but have dropped into the bottom half of the league in FG%, even though they are top-3 in 3PT%. Perhaps the biggest oddity is the inconsistency from Paul George, who has more than plateaued after his incredible start to the season. Blaming a number of things ranging from recovering from illness to feeling as if he has to do “too much” offensively, Indiana’s all-star has dropped from the ranks recently.

One player who will be relishing this game, though, is Glenn Robinson III, who was released by the Timberwolves earlier. In his second-best game as a Pacer, Robinson got revenge and now has the opportunity for a second slice.

The Timberwolves
Minnesota is right around where Indiana is on offense, just below-average in FG% but right at mid-table in scoring. The biggest difference, though, is in the 3PT%, where Indiana is top-3, the T’wolves are in the bottom five.

Still, even if on paper they don’t look much of a threat, the young duo of Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony-Towns is a force to be reckoned with as they charge Minnesota forward. Just behind him, though he has missed a few games, Ricky Rubio remains a big part of the team’s operation.

The Indiana Pacers really should win this game. They have the personnel to get it done and have been on rest since Wednesday. After a peaceful holiday break, tonight is the start of an important stretch where focus is crucial.

After tonight, things get no easier as the Pacers host the Hawks on Monday, travel to Chicago on Wednesday and then on the second night of a back-to-back, host the Bucks on Thursday. But first, tonight, where tipoff is set for 8 pm ET.