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Match Preview #13: Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Cleveland Cavaliers


First look at Indiana

Minnesota and Indiana will face off for the first time this season, the first of two regular season games, with the second and final clash taking place in Minneapolis on December 7th. Last year, Wolves owned the two-game streak, winning both games by an average margin of 5.5 points.

Wednesday’s competition will feature two high-profile attacks, with the Pacers fifth in the league on 116.8 points per game and the Timberwolves in 11th on 114.3 points per game. Both teams spread and share ball like any other team in the NBA, with Indiana ranking second in assists (28.5) and Minnesota ninth (27.1).

Defensively, the Wolves are the superior team compared to the Pacers. Minnesota has a 110.6 defensive rating (tie 11th) along with an average of 8.4 steals per game (fifth place), while Indiana competes with a 111.8 grade (tie 16th).

Battle of the winning streaks

Wednesday’s competition features two of the hottest teams in recent memory in the NBA, as both the Wolves and Pacers go into the game with winning streaks of four or more games.

Minnesota celebrate a comeback win at home to Miami on Monday night, using a strong third quarter to erase an early deficit and continue their winning streak. The Wolves are on a four-game winning streak, the longest of the season and the third-longest active streak in the NBA.

Throughout that streak, the duo of Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards have led the way for Minnesota, with Towns averaging 24 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and a steal and Edwards averaging 23 points, 6.8 rebounds , 4.0 assists and 1.8 steals in their last four games.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Indiana scored its biggest win of the season against Orlando on Monday, extending its winning streak to five straight games to maintain the second-longest active streak in the league behind the Sacramento Kings’ seven-game streak. During that stretch, three of those five wins came at home in Indiana.

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

Can wolves stay hot?

Minnesota, like Indiana, is enjoying its best track of the regular season yet. So the question in Wednesday night’s game is whether Wolves will be able to stay hot and extend their winning streak to five straight.

Minnesota’s offense has strengthened over the past four games, averaging 118 points (equivalent to the 6th-best grade) while 49.7% shot from the field (6th in the NBA) and 35% from 3 (14th in the NBA). . Wolves’ offensive upsurge has also resulted in a surge in team assists, averaging 29 assists per game, which ranks in the top five in the league over the last four competitions.

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

Minnesota will aim to continue their recent hot streak against a team that has been going through a similar streak recently, although on the road where Wolves are 4-3 from home, it won’t be an easy feat to break Indiana’s home record counter from 6-3 this season.


Minnesota Timberwolves

QUESTIONABLE

  • Kyle Anderson – Back cramps
  • Jordan McLaughlin – calf strain

Indiana Pacers

QUESTIONABLE

  • Kendall Brown – G-League assignment
  • Isaiah Jackson – Sprained ankle
  • Andrew Nembhard – Knee contusion
  • Trevelin Queen – G-League assignment

OUT

  • Chris Duarte: ankle sprain
  • Daniel Theis: Knee Surgery

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