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Game Preview #13: Minnesota Timberwolves at Cleveland Cavaliers

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First look at Indiana

Minnesota and Indiana will battle for the first time this season, the first of two regular season games and the second and final game will take place on December 7 in Minneapolis. Last year, the Wolves owned the series by two games, taking both games with an average margin of victory of 5.5 points.

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Wednesday’s contest will feature two high-scoring offenses, as the Pacers finish fifth in the league with 116.8 points per game and the Timberwolves finish 11th with 114.3 points per game. Both teams also field and field the ball as well as any other team in the NBA, with Indiana ranking second in assists (28.5) and Minnesota ranked ninth (27.1).

Defensively, the Wolves are the superior team when compared to the Pacers. Minnesota carries a defensive rating of 110.6 (tied for 11th) along with an average of 8.4 steals per game (fifth), while Indiana comes in with a mark of 111.8 (tied for 16th).

Winning Battle of the Strips

Wednesday’s contest features two of the hottest teams in the NBA in recent times, with both the Wolves and Pacers entering the game with winning streaks of four games or more.

Minnesota kicks off a Victory return Monday night at home against Miami, using a strong third quarter to erase an early deficit to continue their winning ways. The Wolves are riding a four-game winning streak, the longest of the season and the third-longest active streak in the NBA.

Over the course of that series, the pair of Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards led the way for Minnesota, with Towns averaging 24 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1 steal and Edwards scoring 23 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.8 steals during The last four matches.

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Photo by David Birding/Getty Images

Indiana picks up its biggest win of the season on Monday against Orlando, extending its winning streak to five straight games to hold the league’s second-longest streak behind Orlando. Sacramento KingsSeven-game streak. During that stretch, three of those five wins came at home to Indiana.

Part of the Pacers’ hot streak lately has been thanks to the play of Tyrese Haliburton, who has been in shambles this season. The third-year star was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday. Haliburton enters Wednesday with a team-best 20.4 points average and an NBA-best 10.7 assists along with 4.6 rebounds, 1.8 steals and a shooting mark of 49.8% from the field.

Can wolves stay hot?

Minnesota is experiencing its best stretch of the regular season yet – as is Indiana – so the question heading into Wednesday night’s game is whether the Wolves can stay hot to extend their winning streak to five in a row.

Minnesota’s offense has ramped up over the last four games, averaging 118 points (tied for sixth-best mark) while shooting 49.7% from the field (6th in the NBA) and 35% from 3 (14th in the NBA). The upsurge in the Wolves offense has also led to a spike in the team’s assists, averaging 29 assists per game which ranks fifth in the league over the last four contests.

The Wolves’ defense also stepped up to counter offensive positivity, ranking ninth in the league with a defensive rating of 107.5 while averaging 9.5 steals (second in the NBA) during the winning streak.

Minnesota will aim to continue their recent hot stretch against a team that has been on a similar streak recently, though it won’t be an easy task down the road as the Wolverhampton side are 4-3 away from home to face Indiana’s home record. 6-3 this season.


Minnesota Timberwolves

Doubtful

  • Kyle Anderson – Back Spasms
  • Jordan McLaughlin – calf breed

Indiana Pacers

Doubtful

  • Kendall Brown – G-League assignment
  • Isaiah Jackson – Sprained Ankle
  • Andrew Nimbard – Knee contusion
  • Trevelin Queen – G-League designation

Outside

  • Chris Duarte: Ankle sprain
  • Daniel Theiss: Knee surgery

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