Tim's Game Preview: Game 13, Los Angeles Clippers


I'm guessing that Donald Sterling doesn't want this to be a Korean recipe game either, but for a very different reason.

 Minnesota Timberwolves (3-9) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (1-10) at Target Center

The Los Angeles Clippers come into tonight's game as the worst team in the NBA with only one win (a surprising 15-point victory over Oklahoma City) and home losses to Detroit and New Jersey. USA Today has the Timberwolves favored by 4 1/2 points and the returns of Wayne Ellington and Luke Ridnour should only help to bolster that prediction.

For their part, the Wolves have done an excellent job of keeping games close in recent weeks, but with the exception of Sacramento and New York, have had trouble finishing the job against teams like Charlotte and Atlanta. Minnesota held an eight point lead late in Monday's road game against the Bobcats, but were held to only one field goal in the final two minutes, and wound up losing by three.

Thankfully for the Wolves, they should not have to worry about closing out a tough game tonight, since I imagine this tilt against the Lakers' little sisters should be over by halftime.

Not much point given who we're facing, but just for the fun of it, let's take a look at the matchups: 


He almost had it....

DeAndre Jordan vs. Darko Milicic

While some people on Canis Hoopus think highly of DeAndre Jordan, I can't say that I feel the same. You think Darko Milicic has a poor post game? You think Darko has no shooting range or ball skills? DeAndre would like to show you some tape.

Sure, he has size and can occasionally use that to block a shot. But so could Ryan Hollins. Some NBA players (Kobe, LeBron, Magic, Chris Paul to name a few) could probably be great players whether they were 6'1" or 6'11". If DeAndre Jordan was 6'1", he'd be back in Houston, Texas, working a 9-to-5 somewhere.

If Darko Milicic was 6'1", he'd be Sebastian Telfair. Think about it. 

Milicic is a smart player and is going to take advantage of the fact that Chris Kaman is out with an ankle injury. That hook shot looked better against the Bobcats on Monday, and as Darko gains more confidence, he is only going to become a more viable offensive option in the middle.

Winner: Darko Milicic


Blake Griffin is projected to be the #1 overall pick in next season's WNBA draft.

 Blake Griffin vs. Kevin Love

Sure, we've all heard a lot about Blake Griffin and how good this guy is in his first NBA season. Yeah, he's got some athleticism and the guy gives some nice effort on the floor. He's had a couple of nice dunks. But by the only standard that matters - winning - Blake Griffin is the best player on the worst team in the league. Ask Kevin Love/Al Jefferson what they thought about that distinction last year. Sorry, Blake, but I'll take #42 over you any day of the week.

First of all, Kevin Love is a much better screamer. Have you even watched the Wolves' introduction video? I've seen grown men cover their eyes because they are so afraid that Love will come over to their seats and yell at them like that. Secondly, Kevin Love writes for GQ. That stands for Gentleman's Quarterly, and that's fitting, since few people personify "gentleman" like Mr. Love. Blake Griffin might be able to write for QG - Quarter of a Gentleman - magazine.

And sure, while some people think Kevin Love may have only gotten 31/31 because the NBA likes white players more than black players, those same "forces" will help Love continue his dominance of the boards on Wednesday against the Clips. Welcome to the NBA, Blake. You don't stand a chance.

Winner: Kevin Love


Aminu was worth the #8 selection in the NBA Draft? Maybe in the second round.

Al-Farouq Aminu vs. Michael Beasley

Aminu's rookie season has not started off with bells and whistles. He's averaging only 6.3 points and 3.2 rebounds per game, but has been inserted into the starting lineup thanks to a slew of injuries to the Clippers. Aminu is freakishly athletic, but has a very poor shot and is not big enough to bang down low with 4's.

Michael Beasley should be able to get this guy flummoxed pretty early on in the game, and since Aminu turns balls over faster than a bowling ball cleaner, we could see quite a few fast break points come off of possessions where Aminu has to handle the rock.

On the other end, Beasley needs to use his basketball IQ to get Aminu out of position. Aminu has the length and speed to stay with Beasley on his drives, but given how well Skittles has been shooting the ball lately, I'd stick to those mid-range shots. That's easy money right there.

Winner: Michael Beasley


Eric Gordon just told Baron Davis that they're going to miss his contributions this season.

 Eric Gordon vs. Wesley Johnson

A teammate of Kevin Love's on Team USA this past summer, Eric Gordon is being hailed as one of the best young shooting guards in the league and has already turned into one of the best scorers in the league. Gordon is a great ball handler with a quick release who shoots lots of 3's and draws a lot of contact.

While Gordon certainly has his strengths, he also has plenty of weaknesses as well. His defensive skills are so reminiscent of Barney Fife's that I'm starting to wonder if Gordon is keeping a bullet in the front pocket of his warmups. Against a taller, older and more athletic opponent like Wesley Johnson, Gordon is going to be woefully overmatched. If Wes is going to have his breakout game as a rookie, tonight would be as good of a chance as any.

I predict that Johnson is going to have his first 20-point game in this contest, even with Ellington coming back at the 2.

Winner: Wesley Johnson


Look everybody. It's John Wall and the guy who used to carry Wall's bags to practice in Kentucky.

Eric Bledsoe vs. Sebastian Telfair

Since Baron Davis is injured for this game, I was robbed of at least 10 "Baron is overweight" jokes. Starting in his place is first-year point guard Eric Bledsoe who was drafted in the 1st round out of the University of Kentucky, although there is some doubt that Bledsoe should have been able to play at Kentucky at all last year.

In his time this season, Bledsoe has drawn comparisons to Russell Westbrook, since both are tough guards who like to play off the ball and are solid defenders. Unlike Westbrook, however, Bledsoe is much less athletic, is incredibly turnover prone and does not have much in the way of an outside shot.

With Luke Ridnour coming back from a hamstring injury, reports still have Sebastian Telfair getting the nod at starter tonight. Given that Sundiata Gaines has been playing well in limited action with the Wolves, and Jonny Flynn's possible return any game now, the Wolves could finally trot out the national media's famous "four point guard lineup" at some point in the next couple of weeks.

For the Clippers, three point guards will be enough to take on Bledsoe and I expect that the rookie should have trouble finding opportunities to score and to make plays tonight against the Timberwolves.


In addition to the Clipper starters, the team also returns several former Timberwolves to Target Center tonight, including Craig Smith, Randy Foye, Ryan Gomes and Ryan Gomes' faux hawk. Since players like these almost killed basketball in Minnesota, this is literally like they are returning to the scene of the crime.

Attorney David Kahn ("Hi, I'm David, this is my brother Darryl and this is my other brother Darryl) is ready to bring them to justice tonight at Target Center. The Wolves will be able to get some nice momentum going before that other L.A. team comes into town on Friday night.

My prediction: Timberwolves 108 - Los Angeles Clippers 85

Timberwolves' Record: 4-9 (69 games left to clinch a playoff spot)

Moral Victory Record: 10-3

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