Indiana Pacers (41-12) at Minnesota Timberwolves (25-28)
Location: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
Tip: 8:00 p.m. EST/ 7:00 p.m. CT
National TV: ESPN
Line: IND -3.0
The Indiana Pacers traveled to Minneapolis Tuesday night for a matchup with the Timberwolves tonight at the Target Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time and 7:00 p.m. Central Time.
Tonight’s game is the Pacers’ second since the All-Star break and also marks the second night of a back-to-back. Indiana defeated the Atlanta Hawks at home on Tuesday, 108-98.
This is the first and only time the Pacers will visit the Timberwolves at the Target Center this season. Indiana already owns a 1-0 advantage in the season series with Minnesota after beating the ‘Wolves 98-84 back on November 25, 2013. Minny should be looking for redemption from that loss nearly three months ago.
Keys to stopping the ‘Wolves are simple: defend Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love and Corey Brewer.
Minnesota is without Kevin Martin after he sustained an injury not long ago, and team officials ruled him out for a number of weeks. That was a blow to the team as Martin was Minny’s second-leading scorer behind the All-Star, Love.
Thus, it leaves Indiana with the trio of Rubio, Love and Brewer to focus on. Love speaks for himself. A starter in this past weekend’s All-Star game in New Orleans, Love averages a double-double in points and rebounds and is arguably the best power forward in the league. He is capable of posting up, facing the basket and stepping out to shoot the three-ball.
Love is also amongst the NBA leaders in rebounding, meaning whatever shots he does miss, he is a threat to grab the rebound and convert on second-chance opportunities.
However, it all starts with Rubio. The versatile point guard doesn’t have much game defensively or shooting the ball, but loves to attack the basket and dish the ball to his teammates. That’s where Love, and Brewer come in.
Brewer likes to hide on the perimeter, shoot the three or shot fake and step inside the arc to create his own basket. His game is reminiscent of Houston’s James Harden, although not as polished offensively.
Even without Martin, Minnesota is a threat, especially coming out of the Western Conference.
Playing on the road is never easy, but the Indiana Pacers look focused after Tuesday’s win, and they complete the back-to-back sweep with a victory over the ‘Wolves, 110-103.