Minnesota (15-25) will likely be without All-Star forward Karl-Anthony Towns who continues to battle illness and a knee injury. Towns has missed the previous 14 games, including Wednesday’s home-and-home loss against the Pacers. The Timberwolves now travel to the Hoosier state to finish off the home-and-home with Towns still questionable. Minnesota is ranked 29th in the NBA in three-point shooting (32.4%) and 28th in overall shooting (43.2%). The Twolves defense is last in the league in rebounds allowed (48.5 per game).
Indiana (26-15) is getting spark from the return of Malcolm Brogdon, who scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half of the victory over Minnesota. Brogdon has tallied 42 points, 15 assists, and 13 points in the last two games since returning from a back injury and an illness. Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis are a combined 22-of-35 from the floor in the win over the Twolves. The Pacers are sixth in three-point shooting (33.9%) and sixth in overall shooting (44.4%). Indiana’s defense ranks sixth in defending the three-point line (36.7) and seventh in overall shooting defense (36.7%).
ESPN’s FPI gives Indianapolis a 76.4% chance of winning this game. We break down the line and offer our best bets and analysis for Friday’s matchup between the Timberwolves and Pacers.
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Timberwolves vs. Pacers Game Details
Date: Friday, January 17
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Indiana)
TV: FS North, FS Indiana
Spread: Pacers -8
- C Karl-Anthony Towns (knee/illness) quesitonable
- SF Jake Layman (toe) out
- SG Victor Oladipo (knee) out
- Timberwolves are 15-25 SU and 16-22-2 ATS this season
- Pacers are 26-15 SU and 23-17-1 ATS this season
- Over 21-19 in Timberwolves games this season
- Under is 20-20-1 in Pacers games this season
Analysis & Pick
This is a tough handicap considering the uncertain status of Karl-Anthony Towns, who is officially questionable with an illness but is also recovering from a knee injury.
To make matters more dramatic, Towns has been the center of trade rumors as Minnesota plans the future of the franchise. The Timberwolves are 5-9 in the last 14 games without Towns and have lost four of their last five games. Indiana will continue to solidify its rotation as Brogdon settles back into the lineup.
I like the momentum the Pacers are building right now on offense as they are evolving into one of the most efficient teams in the league. I think Minnesota will continue to be distracted by the Towns uncertainty and won’t have much success against the stiff Indiana defense. The Pacers are 12-8-1 ATS at home this season as they play their best basketball inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
PICK: Pacers -8
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith