Howdy folks, I'll be hitting you good people with the game preview today, as a favour to Tim and a prequel to my game recap. You guys should be amped.
"It was him sir, him and beasley were smoking it, I swear I wasn't involved!"
Big game tonight as two young upstart teams clash at Minnesota. The Wolves, fresh off a big win against Portland, look to bring that aggressiveness back home and punch the lights out of the Clippers. Lob Angeles will be looking to entertain the Target Centre crowd with their high energy basketball and youthful athleticism. After a big overtime win last night against Houston expect them to be tired, but full of confidence. This is a team sitting tidy at third in the west, and we'd do well not to underestimate them.
MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES (19-19) (10-10 at Home)
PG - Ricky Rubio (DTD)
SG - Luke Ridnour
PF - Kevin Love
C - Nikola Pekovic
LAST FIVE GAMES (6-4 in the last 10)
W @ Portland Trailblazers
L @ Phoenix Suns
W vs Utah Jazz
Ricky Rubio is Day-To-Day after contracting a STD off Joel Przybilla
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (22-13) (10-8 Away)
PG - Chris Paul III
SG - Randy Foye
SF - Caron Butler
PF - Blake Griffin
C - DeAndre Jordan
LAST FIVE GAMES (5-5 in the last 10)
W @ Houston Rockets
L @ Phoenix Suns
W @ Sacramento Kings
L vs Minnesota Timberwolves (That's us!)
W vs Denver Nuggets
What is a clipper anyway? Do they mean it as in "hair clipper"?
Nikola Pekovic vs DeAndre Jordan
The bigs are going to be the key to winning this game, for both sides, and this is where that matchup begins. Expect Jordan to deliver his usual repertoire of a few blocks, a couple of rebounds, an alley oop finish and not much else. Big Pek hasn’t been in the same hot form he was in during February, but he is still delivering solid production at the centre spot. If I was Coach Adelman (and believe me, I’m not), I would advise the Montenegrin Machine to throw a few pumpfakes in the mix. DeAndre can’t resist the prospect of adding another digit to that blocks column, give him some bait and watch him flail his way to defensive obscurity. Edge - Pekovic
Kevin Love vs Blake Griffin
DO YOU WANT YOUR POWER FORWARD TO BE EXCITING?! Well, I’m sorry Shaq, if you haven’t found Kevin Love exciting this year, then you don’t know basketball. The man has become a one of a kind basketball machine, fully capable of whipping the canis game thread into a frenzy after a no-call or one of his delicious one-handed put backs. That's not to discredit Griffin, who's dunks often leave me sobbing about my 15" vertical, but he's just not the same basketball player that Love is. Raw athlete, yes, but he still has a way to come skillwise. Having said that, Griffin took clear honors in this matchup last week, with 30 points to Love's 10, leaving them tied up so far this season. However, Kev looked hot at Portland on Saturday, and with a day's rest over Griffin I'm expecting him to control this one. Edge - Love
Martell Webster vs Caron Butler
Is Martell starting, you say? Yesterday after speaking to several sources with inside knowledge of the Timberwolves, I can confirm that yes, Martell Webster will be starting. Or not. But I can confirm that it'll be one of the two. As for Caron Butler, he's hit a large hole since the all star break and is yet to climb out. Expect Martell (or Wes) to have no worries guarding this brickmonster. I'm sincerely hoping Webster starts, he's put together a string of well played games, and it's safe to say he's been putting that Denver flooper behind him. Edge - Martell
Luke Ridnour vs Randy Foye
"We're just a legit two guard away..." That seems to be the prevailing thought around Canis this year and it seems that the Clippers have injured their way into a similar situation. You can't fault Luke's effort or determination out on the court, but is he a shooting guard? Maybe not, but he's doing a decent job of patching up the spot for the moment. As for Randy, I'm sure the Clippers enjoyed his scoring off the bench, but were hoping that's where he'd stay. He's capable of hitting the three, for sure, but his effort on defense is lacking, and he's just not the cunning fox that Big ol' Billups was for this team. Edge - Ridnour
Ricky Rubio vs Chris Paul III
Battle of the young upstart vs the best. Cries of "Rookie Wall!" have been echoing around the internets of late with regards to Ricky, but he is still doing a reasonable job of running the offense. He's not throwing up the same numbers he began with, but heck, making a Wolves record against Portland (Assists in a quarter, ten) ain't too shabby. About that first quarter, he ran the Timberwolves with such swagger, you can credit him for getting the shooters the opportunity to score forty. When it comes to swagger however, CP3 has it locked down. He has been icy cool of late, averaging 26 points and 8 assists in his last five games. You can pretty much expect him to roll like he did last week against us, but watch out for our boy Ricky, he could snatch a few if Chris ain't careful. Edge - Paul
Super Pups (Wolves bench) vs Flop City Junior Team (Clippers bench)
Is this even a contest? Is anyone even questioning the bench edge we have? Throughout the last few games Adelman has fashioned a bench which can be deadly (just ask the Jazz, and these Clippers). Any bench that has a caged lion ready to roar is definitely going to have an upper hand, and let's not forget the ferocity of J.J Barea. The little fella can sure as hell be a spark plug, so don't be surprised if he runs the gauntlet around Mo Williams (who's lost the authority he had at the beginning of the year). Edge - Wolves
Coach Adelman vs Coach Del Negro
I'm so glad Rick Adelman is running the show for the Wolves. Every game he does things that just MAKE SENSE. Years of Rambis leave me feeling astonished. Against Portland, he had Pek guard LaMarcus Aldridge and that turned out to be a master stroke. Poor old Vinny Del Negro will wear that same old "Is my job safe?" face that he's practiced all season. I'm sure the double screen play Adelman destroyed him with in January still gives him night terrors. Watch Adelman wipe the floor in this matchup. Edge - Adelman
There is no doubt, excitement will be had in tonight's game. If the boys come out and play with fire, like we know they can, expect a good game. Win this game and we get yet another tie-breaker against an upper echelon Western Conference contender. I would be surprised if this Clippers team lays down though, there's a lot to like about them and they are very capable of beating us handily if we bring our B game. Prediction - 106-99 Wolves.