The Indiana Pacers with a healthy Malcolm Brogdon are one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, and Brogdon is starting to round into form. Brogdon will try to get more comfortable and lead the Pacers to a third consecutive win when they visit the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday for the opener of a home-and-home set.
Brogdon (back, illness) made his first appearance of 2020 on Monday and started off slow before scoring eight of Indiana's final 10 points and finishing with a team-high 21 in a 101-95 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. "That's the leader," Pacers coach Nate McMillan told reporters of Brogdon. "That's our point guard. It was obvious that he had been off for a while and didn't have his rhythm, his timing. And he just stuck with it, continued to talk to the team about staying with it. ... He's the guy who establishes how we want to play on both ends of the floor." The Timberwolves know all about missing a key player due to injury and are coming up on a month without All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns, who is battling both a knee injury and an illness and is questionable to return on Wednesday. "It's one of those things where we value our players' health," Minnesota coach Ryan Saunders told reporters prior to watching his team suffer a 117-104 home loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday. "And we want him to be 100 percent when he comes back."
TIME: 8 p.m. ET. TV: FS Indiana, FS North
ABOUT THE PACERS (25-15): Indiana is still waiting on All-Star guard Victor Oladipo (quad tendon) to make his season debut and is leaning on players like Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis to lead the way until he makes his anticipated return at the end of the month. Sabonis (knee) returned from a one-game absence on Monday and collected 10 points and 16 rebounds while Myles Turner added a double-double and T.J. Warren matched Brogdon with 21 points. "We're resilient, man," Brogdon told reporters. "We've got young, tough guys that know how to play the game and are unselfish. We continue to rely on each other, we continue to rely on coach to make the right calls, and it all came together at the end of the game."
ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (15-24): Minnesota could have used Towns on the interior on Monday, when it was outrebounded 58-44 and allowed Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to grab a career-high 20 boards. "We obviously need more from everybody when we have guys that are out that are big parts of this team," Saunders told reporters. "I was happy with some of the guys. I was happy with what Naz (Reid) was able to do. I was happy with Josh (Okogie)'s dribble-penetration and the way he was able to kick to some open shooters." Reid, a rookie center who made his NBA debut last month, scored a season-high 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting in the loss.
1. Sabonis is third in the league with 31 double-doubles.
2. Timberwolves SF Robert Covington is averaging 16 points during a string of six straight games scoring in double figures.
3. The home team took each of the two meetings last season, with Minnesota turning away Indiana 101-91.