The Minnesota Timberwolves travel to Indiana to take on the Indiana Pacers in a rare matchup between the two teams. This is the first of two games between the two teams. Both teams are off to good starts this season, with one being superior on the offensive end and the other on the defensive side. The Pacers are holding opponents to 87.6 points per game while the Timberwolves are scoring about 106.9 points per game. Something must give tonight.
The Pacers are leading the very weak Eastern Conference with a 12-1 record and are undefeated at home. The Timberwolves, however, are in the very tight Western Conference with a record of 8-7. Even though the record of the Timberwolves is just over .500, the Pacers should not take them lightly. They do have a deadly duo with Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio which could mean trouble for the Pacers.
Love is currently playing at an MVP-type level, averaging a double-double in points and rebounds with 24.9 and 13.6 respectively. Rubio does not have the scoring prowess that Love has, but he is a major reason for the numbers that Love has. Rubio is averaging 8.1 points per game and 8.7 assists per game.
The biggest addition for the Timberwolves in the offseason is Kevin Martin, a usual sixth man but now a starter for the Timberwolves. With Love on the offensive side, the Pacers are going to have to do something drastic against him.
Love plays the power forward position for the Timberwolves, which means that David West will be the person guarding him. Inside the paint, West has the experience on his side, but Love will force West to guard him on the perimeter. Love definitely has the speed on West, but not the power.
With this being said, look for the Pacers to play more of offseason addition Chris Copeland to guard Love. Copeland is a little more agile then West, and has the ability to chase Love around more.
Look for West to have a good game, but that should not be a concern for Pacer fans with the team’s balanced approach. Expect the Pacers to win this game with their defense as they have all year. However, if the duo of Love and Rubio impose their will on the Pacers, the Pacers could be looking at their first home loss of the season.
Justin Logan is an Indiana Pacers writer for Rant Sports. Add him on Facebook.