Minnesota Timberwolves vs Indiana Pacers: Predictions, Odds, and Roster Notes

WSN Picks: Indiana Pacers defeat Minnesota Timberwolves

How to Watch

What: Minnesota Timberwolves at Indiana Pacers

Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

When: Friday, 17 January 2020, 7:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): Fox Sports Indiana, Fox Sports North | 93.5/107.5 FM The Fan, 830 WCCO

Minnesota Timberwolves (Away)

Head Coach: Ryan Saunders {All-Time 32-50 | MIN}

Season Record: 15-25

Projected Starting Five: (G) Shabazz Napier – (G) Andrew Wiggins – (F) Jarrett Culver – (F) Robert Covington – (C) Karl-Anthony Towns

Top Performers:

  • (C) Karl-Anthony Towns – 33.9 MPG | 26.5 PPG | 11.7 RPG | .418 3P%
  • (G-F) Andrew Wiggins – 34.7 MPG | 22.8 PPG | 5.0 RPG | 3.3 APG
  • (F) Robert Covington – 28.7 MPG | 12.7 PPG | 5.7 RPG | 1.7 SPG

The Minnesota Timberwolves have trailed off as the season has come along. Currently sitting with a record of 15-25, the Timberwolves are struggling to find relevance in the Western Conference.

Minnesota is coming off of a tight loss to the Indiana Pacers, on the first leg of their home and home. They were outclassed to close out the match, showing the veteran leadership the young Wolves are lacking.

When the Timberwolves take on the Indiana Pacers again, they will be without guards Jeff Teague and Trevor Graham. They acquired Allen Crabbe in compensation, but whether or not he dresses is the question.

Indiana Pacers (Home)

Head Coach: Nate McMillan {All-Time 642-575 | SEA, POR, IND}

Projected Starting Five: (G) Malcolm Brogdon – (G) Jeremy Lamb – (F) TJ Warren – (F) Domantas Sabonis – (C) Myles Turner

Season Record: 26-15

Top Performers:

    • (F) Domantas Sabonis – 34.3 MPG | 18.1 PPG | 13.1 RPG | 4.3 APG
    • (G) Malcolm Brogdon – 30.7 MPG | 17.9 PPG | 7.4 APG | 4.5 RPG
    • (F) TJ Warren – 32.3 MPG | 17.8 PPG | 3.8 RPG | 1.0 SPG

The Indiana Pacers are amongst the strongest teams in the Eastern Conference. While they sit fifth in the East, only 2.5 games remove them second place in the Eastern Conference. Not even full strength, Indiana is a force to be reckoned with.

They are coming off of a win in the first leg of a home and home with the Minnesota Timberwolves. They dominated in the second half of their last game but left some wanting in their late offensive execution and shooting.

They’ll need to clean up their mistakes in this second match with the Timberwolves. Not only did Indiana scrape by due to Minnesota’s awful shooting, but they also weren’t exactly automatic from the field themselves.

What’s At Stake?

The Minnesota Timberwolves and the Indiana Pacers don’t meet often. In 59 regular-season games, the Pacers lead the Timberwolves 39-21.

A win for the Minnesota Timberwolves would bring them within half a game of the Phoenix Suns who occupy 11th in the Western Conference.

A win for the Indiana Pacers would bring them a one-game lead over the Philadelphia 76ers who own sixth in the East.

Questions to answer

Will the Minnesota Timberwolves’ changes provide some wins?

Can the Indiana Pacers find the magic to bring down the T-Wolves again?

We are going to compare the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Indiana Pacers in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

What Does Allen Crabbe Bring to Minnesota?

The Minnesota Timberwolves made the first real splash of the NBA trade season as they sent guards Jeff Teague and Treveon Graham to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Allen Crabbe. But what does Crabbe bring that they didn’t have in one-time All-Star Jeff Teague?

Allen Crabbe, who owns an $18.5 million expiring deal, is exactly the three-point sharpshooter that the Timberwolves have been looking for. Only 27 years old, Crabbe is a career 38.9% shooter from three-point range. But he’s been shooting a career-low 32.3% this season on his lowest usage in four seasons.

Ryan Saunders has been quite comfortable with Shabazz Napier, Andrew Wiggins, and Josh Okogie’s playmaking abilities as of late. The loss of Teague isn’t a huge impact, but it does open up an opportunity for the team to bring in a second ball handler.

The Brogdon-Sabonis Duo Is Strong

While the Indiana Pacers are missing their only All-Star, they seem to have developed two of their own as Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon have broken through the role player barrier.

In their last game against the Timberwolves, Minnesota had no answer for the two. Sabonis was, as usual, a beast on the boards while Brogdon scored efficiently and contributed on the boards and got teammates involved.

The Timberwolves may have Towns back in the lineup this time out, but these two will be the force that drives their offensive and defensive effort. Combining for 50 points, 19 rebounds, and 12 assists in their last match, Indiana quietly has one of the most dangerous two-man teams in the league.

Minnesota Needs to Rediscover Their Offensive Rhythm

It was their fifteenth straight match without Karl-Anthony Towns in the lineup for Ryan Saunders and the Minnesota Timberwolves. While their defensive ability didn’t fail them against the Pacers last time out, they stalled when it came to scoring the ball.

It was only the third time since before the Thanksgiving break that the Minnesota Timberwolves failed to score 100+ points in a match. In the last half, the T-Wolves were able to convert on only 12 field-goals. Against a stout defensive team like Indiana, they were missing KAT.

To take down the Pacers this time out, they will need to find some shooting. Keita Bates-Dop and Jarrett Culver combined for 32 points on 55% shooting from the field, but weren’t enough. If Allen Crabbe makes his Wolves debut he could be a massive help from range. The likes of Shabazz Napier and Josh Okogie need to have more of an offensive impact.

Shooting Is Not a Priority But Must Be Efficient for Indiana

The Indiana Pacers are not famous for their ability shooting the ball. They are more offensively dominant in the paint, only taking threes when it is both necessary and offensively efficient.

They must still keep their opponents honest though. In their last match against the Timberwolves, the Pacers shot a paltry 30.4% from deep. Of all players to attempt at least two threes, only Justin Holiday converted on 50% or more of his attempts.

Knowing their dominance in the paint, the Pacers shouldn’t shy away from their strength. But Nate McMillan must encourage his team to punish teams from range for fear of their paint being packed with no alternative.

Minnesota Timberwolves Roster Notes

(C) Karl-Anthony Towns – 15 Jan 2020 – Day To Day (Illness) – Towns did not play in Wednesday’s game (Jan. 15) against the Pacers.

(F) Jake Layman – 5 Jan 2020 – Out (Toe) – Layman’s official timetable to return from injury hasn’t been announced.

Indiana Pacers Roster Notes

(G) Victor Oladipo – 8 Jan 2020 – Out (Quad) – The Pacers announced that Oladipo is planning to return on Jan. 29.

Head-to-Head: (C) Karl-Anthony Towns vs (C) Myles Turner

Two of the NBA’s best young centres face off as Karl-Anthony Towns (might) make his debut, while Myles Turner looks to bounce back from a difficult game last time out. Both will have an impact on how this game turns out from both ends of the court.

(C) Karl-Anthony Towns (6-11, 248lb (211cm, 112kg) | Kentucky | 4 Years)



Season Age Team Games MP PTS REB AST FG% 3P%
19-20 24 MIN 23 33.9 26.5 11.7 4.4 .514 .418


Karl-Anthony Towns is having a career year with the Minnesota Timberwolves. All on the back of hard work and rededication after an awful 2018-2019 season for his side. He’s only appeared in 23 games this season, but is expected back in the second leg of this home and home.

The T-Wolves will be happy to have an option like Towns to throw the ball to in the post. He’s an incredible scorer from inside and outside of the paint. His ability to draw additional defenders is also something that no other player on his side can command. Towns has the whole package that the Pacers should worry about.

(C) Myles Turner (6-11, 250lb (211cm, 113kg) | Texas | 4 Years)

Season Age Team Games MP PTS REB AST FG% 3P%
19-20 23 IND 33 29.5 12.8 6.1 1.3 .453 .345

Myles Turner seems to have plateaued statistically and that’s nothing to be proud of for a 23 year old centre with his athletic abilities. Turner is still blocking shots at a high rate, but his hot and cold nature offensively is hurting his team.

In his last game he was 3-8 from the field and 1-5 from deep. Much too rangy for a centre of his size. He must attack the paint to succeed. Last time out against the Bulls he was dominant, going 10-18 from the field for 27 points while taking only four threes. Balance is needed for Turner to find success.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Indiana Pacers Predictions and Odds

Why the Minnesota Timberwolves Will Win

The Minnesota Timberwolves can take this win if they can improve on their shooting. They were promising in the first half of the last game but fell when they came close to the finish line. The return of Towns should help their offense tremendously.

Why the Indiana Pacers Will Win

If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. The Pacers leaned on Brogdon and Sabonis in their last win and it was unstoppable for them. They operate where the Timberwolves are weak. If they can provide more of the same, they’ll get a similar result.

WSN’s Pick

The Pacers are fighting for more and are more talented overall. While Towns isn’t a certainty to return, they should have enough to manage his scoring on top of the Wolves’ lack of shooting.

WSN Picks: Indiana Pacers defeat Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota Timberwolves vs Indiana Pacers Odds

The latest odds for the Lakers vs Mavs are provided by Unibet NJ, DraftKings Sportsbook, and 888Sport NJ. Check out our guide on how to bet on the NBA to lock in your best bets.

Money Line

Sportsbook Timberwolves Pacers
Unibet NJ +290 -375
DraftKings +300 -375
888Sport NJ +290 -375

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