March 8, 2013; Orlando FL, USA; Indiana Pacers small forward Paul George (24) drives to the basket against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Amway Center. Indiana Pacers defeated the Orlando Magic 115-86. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves (22-39) @ Indiana Pacers (39-24)


The Pacers were beaten soundly by the Heat Sunday night 91-105 in something of a message game. Miami is clearly the class of the Eastern Conference (with almost a 10 game lead over both the Knicks and Pacers) while Indiana has its sights set on securing the number two seed and winning the Central Division.

Pacers probable starting lineup:

PG George Hill

SG Lance Stevenson

SF Paul George

PF David West

C Roy Hibbert

George had a tough night (2-11, 5 turnovers) and a tough cover against Miami, but he’s shooting 39% over his last 5 — he’s shooting under 40% for the month of March — so it’s a trend for the Pacers star, who could be showing signs of fatigue in his breakout season.

West has been picking up the slack, averaging 18 points and 9 rebounds on 51% shooting over the same span.

The last time the Wolves and Pacers met, Hill tore the Wolves to shreds (29 points on 11-17 shooting), as Ricky Rubio’s defense was noticeably absent. Hill is shooting 44% from 3 while not doing much else — 3 assists, 3 rebounds and a steal over his last 5.

Wolves probable starting lineup:

PG Ricky Rubio

SG Luke Ridnour

SF Mickael Gelabale

PF Derrick Williams

C Greg Stiemsma

The Pacers got Danny Granger back for 5 games before he missed their last 3 with knee soreness. ESPN’s game preview for tonight had a nice line regarding the Wolves win over San Antonio:

Minnesota has been without Kevin Love (broken right hand), Nikola Pekovic (abdominal strain), Andrei Kirilenko(strained left calf), Malcolm Lee (right knee) and Chase Budinger (knee), so it wasn’t about to apologize for beating a Spurs team missing Tony ParkerTim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard to injury.

It’s nice to see acknowledge the M.A.S.H. unit that is the Wolves.

Derrick Williams messed the bed pretty badly last time he faced David West started besides Andrei Kirilenko last time out against the Pacers and grabbed a single paltry rebound en route to scoring a respectable 15 points on 6-9 shooting. He will be leaned on quite a bit more this time; because although AK and Pek are said to be returning soon and Chase is right behind them, this afternoon Kevin Love was said to be 2-3 weeks away from just being reevaluated and is likely out for the rest of the season.

But let’s not dwell on bad news. Magic happened last time, it could happen again.

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