The Indiana Pacers will look to bounce-back from Monday's 120-112 overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls. Their latest matchup will be the Minnesota Timberwolves, who currently hold the NBA's worst record.
Indiana received a struggling outing from their two All-Star candidates, Domontas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon. Both players will look to bounce back and help lead the Pacers to a win in order to get back above .500 on the season.
Like the Pacers, the Timberwolves are coming off a loss in their previous outing. With D'Angelo Russell sidelined, Minnesota managed to score just 104 points and that's not going to get it done against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
While the damage already appears to be done to the Timberwolves' chances of making the playoffs, the Pacers will need to rack up as many wins as possible to maintain their playoff positioning.
Here are the particulars on Monday night's game:
- Who: Indiana Pacers (14-14) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (7-21)
- When: 8:00 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Feb. 17.
- Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
- Latest Line: Most oddsmakers consider the Pacers as being a 6-point favorite as of 3:00 p.m. ET.
- Standings: The Pacers currently rank 5th in the Eastern Conference standings and trail the No. 1 spot by 4 games. Meanwhile, the Timberwolves have the worst record in the NBA.
- Series history: Indiana leads the all-time series, 39-21.
- Last meeting: These two teams last faced off on Jan. 17, 2020, when the Pacers narrowly won 116-114. It took a game-winning floater from Malcolm Brogdon to put Indiana over the time and clinch the win.
- Projected Timberwolves starters: Ricky Rubio, Malik Beasley, Anthony Edwards, Jarred Vanderbilt, Karl-Anthony Towns.
- Projected Pacers starters: Malcolm Brogdon, Justin Holiday, Doug McDermott, Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner.
- TV: FOX Sports Indiana.
- Announcers: Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
- Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)
Here are three things to watch during Wednesday's game:
1. Slowing Down Karl-Anthony Towns
The Timberwolves were without Karl-Anthony Towns for a considerable portion of the season, but he's back in the lineup. He hasn't quite played to his usual level over the initial four games of his return.
During this recent stretch, Towns has been limited to averages of 19.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 3.0 assists. He's been highly efficient shooting the basketball but hasn't gotten to the free throw line much and is turning it over a fair amount.
It's always a challenge for the Pacers to face off with teams that have stretch bigs. The constant need to balance Myles Turner still being in the paint to protect the rim as opposed to giving up space for jumpers isn't easy.
2. Anthony Edwards is Finding His Form
It has been an impressive run from Anthony Edwards as of late. He is coming off arguably his best outing of the season where he recorded 28 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft is having quite a strong month of February so far. He is averaging 17.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.3 assists and was recently integrated in the starting lineup. His explosiveness, playmaking, and shot creation have all been impressive to see.
Perhaps most impressive of all was the endorsement Edwards received from former NBA great Dwyane Wade on Tuesday night. Wade expressed his belief that Edwards could become a better player than he was during his NBA career.
3. D'Angelo Russell Sidelined
For much of the season, the Timberwolves relied on D'Angelo Russell to help keep the offense afloat while Karl-Anthony Towns was sidelined. Now, the roles are reversed after Russell underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and will miss 4-to-6 weeks.
The Timberwolves played their first game with Russell sidelined on Tuesday loss to the Lakers. In an effort to adjust, Minnesota opted to start Ricky Rubio at the point guard position with the rest of the lineup remaining the same.
Not having the dynamic offensive production of Russell, who is averaging 19.3 points and 5.1 assists, will cause the Timberwolves to have to rely on key players like Malik Beasley and Anthony Edwards to shoulder more a heavier load.