Clippers at Wolves
7:00 pm CST
The Wolves come into tonight's game on a three game losing streak that started in Los Angeles against this Clippers team a week ago. That was a reasonably competitive game but the Clippers were in control most of the way, got some good bench production, and were able to hold off the Wolves in relatively routine fashion.
The Wolves were without Ricky Rubio that day, but the point guard turns, as Rubio is back on the court while Chris Paul appears set to miss his third straight game tonight. The Clippers managed to beat the Magic in their last outing without Paul or starting off-guard J.J. Redick thanks to huge games from Blake Griffin, Jamal Crawford replacing Paul in the starting lineup, and Wesley Johnson (!) who made six threes off the bench.
The Wolves have a chance to take advantage of a hobbled opponent, and must do so. The home record is appalling and needs to get turned around. They seem willing and capable of losing home games in all variety of ways from poor starts to fumbling away big leads, and while Target Center is not exactly a roiling venue of excitement during these regular season tilts, there is little excuse for some of these losses.
The Wolves have both L.A. teams coming in to finish the home stand, and need two wins.
Of course the key to the Clippers especially with Paul out is their strong front court of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. The Wolves contained Jordan well in the first meeting, holding him to nine points while both Karl-Anthony Towns and Gorgui Dieng had productive games. Griffin is harder to stop, and frankly he's going to get his numbers against anyone the Wolves send out there, but without Paul running the show and Redick spotting up, hopefully it won't hurt the Wolves too badly.
Most of the guys the Clippers will be running out there on the perimeter tonight have been having poor shooting seasons, (so of course a couple of them will probably go off against the Wolves), something that the Wolves can hopefully take advantage of.
Offensively, I'd like to see the Wolves attack the basket early with both Wiggins and Towns; getting a couple of early fouls on one of their star big men would be good for the outlook.
LATE NOTE: Apparently Paul and Redick are going tonight, after Paul was announced out earlier. So...ignore everything I just wrote. Sorry.
Luc Mbah a Moute
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