Published November 09, 2012
| Sports Network
So far the Minnesota Timberwolves haven't missed a beat without two of their major pieces.
While Kevin Love (hand) and Ricky Rubio (knee) continue to recover from their injuries, the Timberwolves target their third win in a row Friday versus the Indiana Pacers from Target Center.
The Timberwolves improved to 3-1 on the season with Wednesday's 90-75 victory versus Orlando, as Luke Ridnour netted a game-high 19 points and Derrick Williams chipped in 14 and six rebounds for Minnesota, which held on for the win even though it shot 44.7 percent and made just 7-of-20 3-pointers. On the flip side, Orlando made just 35 percent of its shots and committed 20 turnovers for 19 Minnesota points.
Minnesota also recorded 11 steals and blocked nine shots.
"We did poorly on the offensive end, but excelled on the defensive end, that's how we were able to maintain the lead," Wolves forward Chase Budinger said. "It just shows you how tough of a team we can be."
Budinger scored 10 points in less than 18 minutes. Wolves guard J.J. Barea is bothered by a left foot sprain that forced him to leave the Orlando game and he is questionable versus the Pacers.
The Timberwolves are trying to match their longest winning streak from all of last season.
Indiana knows what it's like not to have its best player on the floor and has been dealing with the absence of Danny Granger, who is out for a while due to a balky knee. Granger is expected to miss about three months with a bout of patellar tendinosis.
The Pacers have struggled to a 2-3 start and suffered their second straight loss in Wednesday's 89-86 setback at Atlanta. David West and George Hill both had 20 points, while Paul George contributed 13 points for Indiana, which blew a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter is 0-2 on a three-game road trip.
"We struggled to score down the stretch, but we competed our tails off," Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said. "It just wasn't enough. We got some good looks down the stretch. I extended the starters in the third quarter and they probably ran out of gas in the fourth."
Five of Indiana's first six games are on the road and the team will return home for two games versus Washington and Toronto. The Pacers will play 12 of their first 18 games outside of Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Indiana won both games against Minnesota a season ago and has taken six of the last nine meetings between the two clubs.