Wolves at Clippers
9:30 pm CST
The Wolves begin a four game road trip tonight at Staples Center in Los Angeles against the Clippers, before heading to Phoenix on Wednesday, Oklahoma City on Friday, and San Antonio on Sunday. Nine of their next 12 games are on the road, and they aren't home for consecutive games until a three game home stand beginning March 30th.
But tonight it's the Clippers, who sit at 40-23 and 5th in the Western Conference following a loss yesterday afternoon in Oakland to the Warriors. The Clips remain without Blake Griffin, who continues to recover from a staph infection and resultant surgery. Jamal Crawford also is likely out for tonight's game.
The Clippers continue to run out the best offensive rating in the league, headlined by a deadly three point shooting attack, lots of free throws, and very few turnovers. On the other hand, their bench has been a weakness, and is even more thin without Crawford available. Even the Wolves, not a deep unit themselves, were able to make some hay against the Clips backups in their last match up.
The Wolves lost to the Clippers a week ago at Target Center in a fairly closely contested 110-105 final. It looked like it would be a blowout early as the Clips got out to a big first quarter lead, but the Wolves fought back and had their chances to win until going cold in the 4th quarter.
Hell, Zach wrote some good words about this earlier, I'll just steal from him:
Last Monday the Minnesota Timberwolves stagnated offensively in the final frame against the Los Angeles Clippers, recording just one field goal throughout the entire fourth quarter. Although Ricky Rubio completed his fourth career triple-double (18 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists) the Wolves were unable to overcome miserable late-game execution--while Chris Paul dissected his way to 26 points and 14 assists--and the Clippers left Target Center with a win, 110-105.
In the fourth quarter of the loss, the Wolves scored their last 16 points from the free throw line and finished 1-for-14 from the floor, tying a franchise record for fewest field goals made in a quarter. The Wolves had shot 51.5% (35-for-68) through the first three frames.
The Wolves got to the line a ton in that game, which kept them in it, and they will need something similar tonight. It would be especially helpful if they could get a Clipper or two (particularly DeAndre Jordan) into foul trouble.
Chris Paul has always been a tough match up for the Wolves, as he is for many teams, and last game they started Andrew Wiggins on Paul. That didn't work to well for anybody, as Paul dominated the early going and Ricky Rubio was hammered going through screens for J.J. Redick. Hopefully they try something a little different tonight.
I for one will be staying up to watch, since I will have to recap it. How much coffee I'll need remains to be seen.
Here's a link to our friends over at Clips Nation. Be excellent.
No pics, gifs, links to illegal stream.
Enjoy. Chat. Go.