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.
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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.
News Breaking News
Key Players to Watch
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- KneeQues Mon | questionable
Crabbe exited the previous game due to a left knee injury, and it is uncertain if he will be available for Monday's contest against the Kings.
- RestQues Sat | questionable
Towns is returning from an injury, and so may be rested for Saturday's game against the Raptors.
- AcquiredProb Sat | probable
Teague was recently acquired via trade, but it is projected that he will make his team debut against the Pistons on Saturday.
- AcquiredProb Sat | probable
Graham was recently acquired via trade, but he is expected to make his team debut versus the Pistons on Saturday.
- KneeOut indefinitely | out
Towns has been sidelined with a left knee sprain, and it is unclear when he will return to the lineup.
- ConcussionOut Sun | out
Brogdon missed the last game with a concussion. He will not be cleared in time for Sunday's matchup versus the Trail Blazers.
- IllnessProb Sun | probable
Bitadze missed the previous game ailing from an illness, but it is likely he will be available against the Trail Blazers on Sunday.
- KneeOut Sun | out
Oladipo is recovering from a ruptured quadriceps tendon in his right knee that cost him most of the 2018-19 season. He is lining up to make his season debut Wednesday versus the Bulls.
- KneeQues Sun | questionable
Leaf sat out the last game with a sore right knee, and it has yet to be established if he will take the floor versus the Trail Blazers on Sunday.
- AnkleQues Sun | questionable
Sampson missed the last game due to a sprained left ankle, and his status for Sunday's clash with the Trail Blazers is hazy.
- IllnessOut Sun | out
Turner will not be available against the Trail Blazers on Sunday due to an illness.
- ThumbProb Wed | probable
Holiday is dealing with right thumb soreness, but he is likely to be available for Wednesday's clash against the Bulls.
- HipProb Sun | probable
Lamb is suffering from a left hip contusion, but he is expected to suit up against the Nuggets on Sunday.