The Wolves are about to tip off in Indiana against a Pacers team that hasn't won consecutive games since before the All-Star break and is a coming off Sunday's home victory over Philadelphia.

In fact, the Pacers had alternated victories and losses since the break  -- 6-6 in that stretch -- until they lost games to Boston and Denver last week.

"We know how important that is," Pacers coach Nate McMillan said tonight about stringing together some victories for a team that's jockeying for one of the East's final playoff spots.

The Pacers will try to do so without backup center Al Jefferson, third-year forward Glenn Robinson and veteran guard Rodney Stuckey. A former Wolves big man, Jefferson was on crutches in the Pacers' locker room and is hoping he can be recovered from a sprained ankle by playoff time. Same thing with Robinson, who has a calf strain, while Stuckey has a patella tendon strain and is expected to miss the next four to six weeks.

The Wolves, meanwhile, tonight end an odd three-game strip that started with games in Los Angeles against the Lakers and at Portland.  They're also looking to end a six-game losing streak.

They had two days in between Saturday's Portland game and flew to Indiana on Sunday, in time for Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau to attend the Pacers win over Philly.

"I don't know what else you would do," he said wryly about scouting the opponent in person on an off night.