Wolves at Clippers
9:30 pm CST
Another national TV game for the Wolves, who tonight play foil for a national audience against Clippers. The Wolves will be looking to get rid of a bad taste after last night's loss to the woeful Lakers, and also avoid an 0-4 road trip, though it won't be easy against a Clips team that has been red hot.
Since Blake Griffin got injured,the Clippers have gone 15-3, and now sit 32-16 on the year with Griffin on the sideline having injured himself again in a fight with a member of the Clippers basketball staff. They don't seem to miss him much, as they are in the top 10 both offensively and defensively,
Chris Paul seems back to his expected form after looking a bit sluggish to start the season, they are getting a monster shooting year out of J.J. Redick, who is at 48.6% from three, and DeAndre Jordan continues to benefit from the attention the Clips get on the perimeter to get wide open dunks on the regular, and is shooting 71% from the field. He remains one of the worst free throw shooters in the league, however, at 42%, and is the frequent victim of intentional fouls.
They've been so good without Griffin that there are even rumblings about whether they should consider trading him. I seriously doubt that would happen, but the Clippers do desperately need help up front and more depth if they want to go further than the 2nd round, something that seems unlikely this season in any case. They are a poor rebounding team at both ends of the floor, something the Wolves will look to take advantage of by grabbing some offensive boards.
In their last game, a blowout win over the Bulls that was driven by 17-32 shooting from three, the Clippers started Luc Mbah a Moute up front with Jordan, and no other big got even double figures in minutes. Playing small can work, but not when it's your only choice. Even with Griffin, they lack depth up front, with Cole Aldrich and Jeff Ayres their only real big options off the bench.
I'm hopeful that, at least with Mbah a Moute out there to start the game, Sam Mitchell tries to use his size mismatch to good effect. Mitchell has tended to allow other teams to dictate the matchups more often than not by responding to teams going small by going small himself. In this case, he should try to take advantage if the Clippers; lack of size, especially since Mbah a Moute is not going to hurt them from the perimeter, even with Gorgui Dieng guarding him. Try to punish them down low and on the boards; it's the one spot where you have a clear advantage.
Luc Mbah a Moute
Our blogging buddies are at Clips Nation. Be excellent.
No no and no.
Enjoy the game. Chat here. Go Wolves.