Tim's Game Preview: Game 35, Los Angeles Clippers

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The Clippers are no longer an NBA punchline, but they still have zero wins against Ricky Rubio.

Minnesota Timberwolves (17-17) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (20-11) at STAPLES Center

Tonight, the Timberwolves and Clippers have their first games after the 2012 NBA All-Star break. The All-Star Weekend saw Kevin Love win the Three-Point Contest; Derrick Williams with one awesome dunk, one lame dunk and a whole bunch of missed dunks; Ricky Rubio went through the legs of DeMarcus Cousins; and Love had 17 points and 7 rebounds in the All-Star Game.

The Clippers had Griffin in both the Shooting Stars Challenge and the All-Star Game.

If you remember the last time these two teams met, it was January 20th on national TV (ESPN). Kevin Love won the game on a dramatic buzzer beater. Tonight's game should be exciting as both teams are fresh and ready for the 2nd half of the season.

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This year's NBA slam dunk contest made fans long for the time when Blake Griffin dunked over (the hood of) a car.

Projected Starting Lineups

C: Nikola Pekovic vs. DeAndre Jordan
PF: Kevin Love vs. Blake Griffin
SF: Wesley Johnson vs. Caron Butler
SG: Luke Ridnour vs. Randy Foye
PG: Ricky Rubio vs. Chris Paul

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Chris Paul was not healthy for the last Wolves-Clippers game and will face Ricky Rubio for the first time since the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Last 5 Games

Los Angeles Clippers (1st in Pacific; 3rd in West, 5 1/2 gms behind OKC)

Wed, Feb 15: Win vs. Washington 102-84
Thu, Feb 16: Win at Portland 74-71
Sat, Feb 18: Loss vs. San Antonio 100-103 (OT)
Mon, Feb 20: Loss at Golden State 97-104
Wed, Feb 22: Win vs. Denver 103-95

Minnesota Timberwolves (4th in Northwest, 10 gms behind OKC; 10th in West, 1 gm behind POR)

Wed, Feb 15: Win vs. Charlotte 102-90
Fri, Feb 17: Win at Houston 111-98
Sun, Feb 19: Win vs. Philadelphia 92-91
Mon, Feb 20: Loss at Denver 101-103 (OT)
Wed, Feb 22: Win vs. Utah 100-98

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Chauncey Billups has said that he will return from his Achilles injury to play again in the NBA. Best wishes to Mr. Big Shot.

Injuries

Los Angeles Clippers

Chauncey Billups - Will miss remainder of the season after left Achilles surgery

Kenyon Martin - Questionable for tonight's game with bruised ribs and a sore back

Minnesota Timberwolves

No significant injuries

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Never forget.

Noteworthy Stats

  • Six teams have two players in the top-20 of PER: the Heat (James and Wade), Thunder (Durant and Westbrook), Magic (Howard and Anderson), Jazz (Jefferson and Millsap), Clippers (Paul and Griffin) and Wolves (Love and Pekovic)
  • The Clippers are currently 12th in total attendance at 308,292; the Timberwolves are currently 6th in attendance at 343,496
  • Only ten players in the history of the NBA have averaged 25 or more points and 14 or more rebounds (Kevin Love's averages in '11-'12) for an entire season: Bob Pettit, George Mikan, Bob McAdoo, Moses Malone, Bob Lanier, Elvin Hayes, Wilt Chamberlain, Walt Bellamy, Elgin Baylor and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  • In 5 meetings against one another, Blake Griffin has averaged 25.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists on .543 shooting. Kevin Love has averaged 19.4 points, 13.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists on .484 shooting
  • The January 20th game against the Clippers was the last time that Darko Milicic played more than 30 minutes in a game (34:21). He scored 22 points on 15 shots and also had 2 steals and 3 blocks

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Perhaps Mo Williams will stick around for the entire game this time.

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