The Minnesota Timberwolves will meet the Indiana Pacers for the last time this season in an evening encounter at Target Center on Wednesday. This will be a short two-game road trip for the visitors, who won 116-106 against the Sacramento Kings on Monday.
In their first meeting on February 17, the Indiana Pacers defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 134-128 in overtime. Domantas Sabonis had a huge game with a 36-point, 16-rebound and 10-assist triple-double that negated Karl-Anthony Towns’ 30-point, 10-rebound performance.
Wednesday's matchup will be a revenge game for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who let the game slip away in regulation previously. They led the Indiana Pacers by 10 points in the fourth quarter but couldn’t hang on to the lead.
Fixture - Minnesota Timberwolves vs Indiana Pacers | 2020-21 NBA Season
Date & Time - Wednesday, April 7th, 7:00 PM ET (Thursday, April 8th, 5:00 AM IST)
Venue - Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Minnesota Timberwolves Preview
Now that D’Angelo Russell is back in the lineup, the Minnesota Timberwolves can start winning games again. The 6-foot-4 guard was instrumental in the win against the Kings on Monday.
With the former All-Star back in the lineup, it will be quite a challenge for rookie Anthony Edwards to scale back his shot attempts. When Russell went down with an injury on February 8, Edwards was not as confident as he is now. It’s up to coach Ryan Saunders to manage the balancing act between the two, while his point guard orchestrates the offense that he wants implemented.
Karl-Anthony Towns will be the focal point of the offense, but his work in the paint will be much easier without Myles Turner, who will not feature in the game. The Indiana Pacers' shot-blocker is likely out due to an injury.
Key Player - D’Angelo Russell
The return of D’Angelo Russell from arthroscopic knee surgery was a success. In his first game back, the former second overall pick scored 25 points versus the Sacramento Kings to lead his team in scoring while coming off the bench.
His minutes are limited at the moment, so he may not start yet until further notice.
He hardly missed a beat in 24 minutes of action and was instrumental in the Minnesota Timberwolves pulling away from the Kings. He scored 13 of his points in the fourth quarter, including two big threes.
Without Malcolm Brogdon as his primary defender from the Indiana Pacers, Russell could have a field day running rings around his opponents.
Minnesota Timberwolves Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Ricky Rubio l Shooting Guard - Anthony Edwards l Small Forward - Josh Okogie l Power Forward - Jaden McDaniels l Center - Karl-Anthony Towns
Indiana Pacers Preview
As the Minnesota Timberwolves are slowly getting their players back from the injured list, the Indiana Pacers are stashing theirs in.
Myles Turner is the latest starter to be on their injury report after the big man sprained his left ankle during Tuesday’s 113-97 loss to the Chicago Bulls. He is likely going to sit out the second night of a back-to-back to avoid worsening the injury.
The Pacers could also miss the services of Malcolm Brogdon (hip) and Domantas Sabonis (ankle) against the Minnesota Timberwolves. This means that, in all likelihood, only two-fifths of the regular starting lineup will be on tap for the matchup.
Caris LeVert and Justin Holiday will have to carry most of the load, along with Doug McDermott. Turner's absence is going to hurt the Indiana Pacers’ defense, especially when guarding the Minnesota Timberwolves Towns. Goga Bitadze has the unenviable task of stopping the former All-Star, and it will not be an easy task.
Key Player - Caris LeVert
One Indiana Pacers player who can explode on any given night is Caris LeVert. The 26-year-old guard is averaging 15.9 points per game this season, but he is more than capable of scoring in bunches for his team.
When he was still with the Brooklyn Nets earlier this season, LeVert scored 43 points on 15-of-23 shooting from the field, including 7-of-9 from three against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Though the Nets lost the match 115-110, LeVert almost single-handedly kept them in the game when he brought them back from a 22-point first-half deficit. The Michigan product scored 25 points in the second half to lead the charge that fell just short.
This is the type of game that LeVert might need to conjure for the Indiana Pacers when they face the Minnesota Timberwolves without most of their stars.
Indiana Pacers Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Edmond Sumner l Shooting Guard - Caris LeVert l Small Forward - Justin Holiday l Power Forward - Doug McDermott l Center - Goga Bitadze
Timberwolves vs Pacers Match Prediction
The Minnesota Timberwolves may be the team with the worse record at 13-38, but the Indiana Pacers will be severely short-handed in their last meeting this season. Considering the circumstances, picking the visitors to win this game is a no-brainer.