Clippers vs Timberwolves coverage
Clippers at Wolves
The Los Angeles Clippers come to town tonight, which will provide a solid match-up for the young Wolves to test their mettle against. The Clippers are pretty much locked into the 4-seed, as they are 5 games behind Oklahoma City for the 3rd seed and 6 games ahead of Memphis at the 5-seed.
The story of the season for the Clippers has been a kind of last hurrah, as some of the players and staff have publicly commented that if this current iteration of the team does not reach playoff success, then major changes may have to be made. However, this has been more complicated due to the infamous Blake Griffin incident upon which he broke his hand during an altercation with a training staff member. Fortunately for the team this did not seem to create any excessive issues, other than the obvious injury, and Blake Griffin is on track to rejoin the team before the playoffs begin.
This leaves the Clippers in a bit of a holding pattern as the playoffs approach, which may mean a significant amount of bench play tonight especially as the Clippers are on the front-end of a back-to-back which will see them play Oklahoma City tomorrow. It's likely that we will see a fair amount of Austin Rivers running the point while Chris Paul looks on from the bench.
The Wolves will have a decent opportunity to steal a victory from the veteran team, especially if the team can continue with the offensive fireworks. If Rubio gets to spend the majority of the night against Rivers than it's pretty likely he ends up with double-digit assists on the evening, not to mention a few steals.
The match-up of the night will be between Karl-Anthony Towns and DeAndre Jordan. Jordan's athleticism allows him to have a better chance at guarding centers like KAT who can stretch the floor and run the pick-and-pop. DeAndre also is a monster rebounder, the type of player that the Wolves struggle to stop from grabbing loads of offensive rebounds.
Andrew Wiggins will also have a tough draw on the offensive end as he has struggled in the past against Luc Mbah a Moute and his length, which seems to really bother Wiggins on his attempts to get to the rim. It will also be interesting to see how the Wolves match-up on the defensive end, as it might be a lot easier to switch Wiggins onto J.J. Redick and move LaVine up to guard Mbah a Moute. Zach has been improving as an individual defender, but chasing a three-pointer shooter around the court and navigating screens is not his forte.
This game will likely come down to late-game execution, as the Clippers are the type of team, especially as they are resting for the playoffs, that the Wolves could run up a big early lead against and then give it right back towards the end of the game. The Clippers have become one of the more established veteran teams over the years and have logged tons of playing time together, something of which the Wolves are just beginning.
Regardless, it should be a close one tonight and an opportunity for the Wolves to showcase their offensive skills.
Luc Mbah a Moute
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Enjoy the game!