Game Preview: Pacers vs. Timberwolves

Match

Pacers fans will get their second look at Indiana’s revised roster on Sunday afternoon, when the Blue & Gold (19-38) host Minnesota (29-27) at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Early returns were promising on Friday, when Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Jalen Smith and Tristan Thompson made their Pacers debuts. The quarterback combined for 53 points in a 120-113 loss to Cleveland.

Haliburton and Hield, in particular, turned in strong performances. Both started, the 21-year-old Haliburton scoring a team-high 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting (4 of 6 from 3-point range) while also having three rebounds, six assists and three steals. Sharpshooter Hield went 4 for 10 from 3-point range and had 16 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

Although they’ve only had one practice since transferring to Indiana, Haliburton and Hield went on the offense early against the Cavs. The Pacers set a franchise record with 47 points in the first quarter, shooting a blistering 10-for-12 from 3-point range.

But the offense exploded in the fourth quarter, going 7 for 22 (31.8%) from the field with eight turnovers. Late game execution will be a point of attention for head coach Rick Carlisle as he incorporates so many new plays into his rotation.

The Timberwolves have a powerful offense, led by All-Star big man Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns is averaging 24.3 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4 assists per game while shooting 52.4% from the field and 40.6% from 3-point range. Anthony Edwards, the first pick in the 2020 NBA draft, also had a second breakout campaign, averaging 22.1 points per contest.

Projected starters

Pacers: PG – Tyrese Haliburton, SG – Chris Duarte, SF – Buddy Hield, PF – Oshae Brissett, C – Goga Bitadze
timber wolves: PG – Patrick Beverley, SG – D’Angelo Russell, SF – Anthony Edwards, PF – Jarred Vanderbilt, C – Karl-Anthony Towns

injury report

Pacers: Malcolm Brogdon – questionable (right Achilles sore), Isaiah Jackson – questionable (right ankle sprain), Terry Taylor – questionable (non-COVID illness), TJ McConnell – out (right wrist ligament surgery), Ricky Rubio – absent (left ACL tear), Myles Turner – out (left foot stress reaction), TJ Warren – out (left navicular fracture)

timber wolves: Josh Okogie – doubtful (right quadrilateral contusion), McKinley Wright IV – out (left UCL injury)

Last meeting

November 29, 2021: The Timberwolves took control with a big third quarter and held off Indiana in the fourth to earn a 100-98 win at Minnesota. Playing on the second half of a straight streak, the Pacers built a nine-point halftime lead but went just 4-for-20 in the third quarter, where they were outscored, 30-19.

They could never give up the hump in a wild fourth quarter that saw Indiana collect four technical fouls in 52 seconds of playing time, two inflicted on Chris Duarte and one on Rick Carlisle and TJ McConnell.

“Such a tough loss,” Carlisle said. “So many good things (this) group did, second night in a row against a talented team…I thought our guys were really fighting, but the second night it got tough, and we needed a few breaks and we didn’t get them.”

Malcolm Brogdon had a team-high 25 points for the Pacers, while Domantas Sabonis had a monster triple-double with 16 points, 25 rebounds and 10 assists, the first Pacer to collect 25 boards in a game since 1989.

Karl-Anthony Towns led all scorers with 32 points on 13 of 22 shooting. D’Angelo Russell added 21 points, eight rebounds and 11 assists, while Anthony Edwards had 21 points and nine boards for Minnesota.

Remarkable

  • The Pacers have won three straight home games against the Timberwolves. Minnesota’s last regular season victory at Gainbridge Fieldhouse was on December 31, 2017.
  • With a victory on Sunday, the Timberwolves would sweep the season series with Indiana for the first time since 2006-07.
  • Sunday’s game will feature four first-round picks from the 2020 NBA Draft: Pacers’ Smith (10th overall) and Haliburton (12th) and Minnesota’s Edwards (first) and Jaden McDaniels (28th).

Tickets

The Pacers host Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Sunday, February 13 at 3:00 p.m. ET. Find Tickets »

TV & Radio Listings Broadcast Information »

TV: Bally Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (secondary reporter/host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (secondary reporter/host)


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