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Wolves 130, Clippers 120: Hanging On

Minnesota built a big lead and hung on for dear life at the end.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Minnesota Timberwolves Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

On the night where Dario Saric stole the pregame headlines, Minnesota came away victorious against the Clippers.

Ironically, Dario started the game very poorly, ending up on the bench with two fouls less than two minutes into the game. This was a common theme as numerous Wolves spent the night navigating their own foul trouble. Foul trouble limited Karl-Anthony Towns to only 27 minutes, but he still gave the Wolves a solid contribution. KAT finished with 24 and 10 on just 7-11 from the field.

Saric came alive as the game went on, however, and bailed Minnesota out more than a few times with his three-point marksmanship. He finished with 19 points on 7-11 from the field, making 4 of 5 from beyond the arc. It’s safe to say Dario has found his stroke from deep.

There were several unsung heroes for Minnesota tonight, but maybe none more than Luol Deng. Lu started in the place of Andrew Wiggins, and it was honestly an upgrade for Minnesota. That seems impossible in the year 2019, but Deng gave Minnesota 12 and 9 on 50% shooting in his 38 minutes and finished a +28, highest on the team. He played phenomenal defense all night as well.

Fittingly, Taj Gibson was a god send off the bench after Dario went out, and he gave Minnesota 14 points on a perfect 5 for 5 from the field.

In typical Minnesota fashion, the Wolves opened up a massive lead reaching 20+ points, only to led Lou Williams bring the Clippers storming back. By the end of the third quarter, it was clear that Minnesota was going to be in a dog fight until the very end.

Lou Williams truly was the catalyst for the Clippers. Minnesota had absolutely no answer for Lou, who gave the Wolves bucket after bucket. He finished with a whopping 45 points, including a James Harden-esque 16 for 16 from the free throw line.

There have been a lot of instances in which Robert Covington’s absence has been obvious, but maybe no more than tonight. Josh Okogie looked hobbled for most of the evening, and that really left Minnesota with no option to guard the scorching Williams. It nearly cost Minnesota the game.

Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose made their returns to the lineup tonight, with Rose giving Minnesota a bit more than Teague. Rose led a stretch of solid bench play in the first half along with Gibson that really catapulted Minnesota into the lead.

Overall, it was a nice win for Minnesota, but it’s just hard to get too excited about these wins knowing that the playoffs are probably out of reach.