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Clippers 129, Wolves 102: Back to the Basics

After an exciting win on Friday night in Los Angeles, Minnesota fell flat in the second game of their back-to-back.

Minnesota Timberwolves v LA Clippers Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Yet here we are again.

The Minnesota Timberwolves lost to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night 129-102, resulting in a 1-3 road trip that dropped their overall record to 4-8. After coming up an electrifying win on Friday night in the same building, the Wolves failed to build upon the momentum they created against the Lakers, getting outhustled, outshot, and outexecuted by the Clippers for all 48 minutes.

What went wrong with this game? Literally everything. Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 8 points and 8 rebounds, while Ivica Zubac finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds, as Isaiah Hartenstein also had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Even while watching the game, you could see the body language from KAT was less than ideal, and it showed that he (nor any of his teammates) really wanted to compete in the second night of their back-to-back.

The Clippers really ran away with this game at the start of the second quarter, fueled by their bench on route to outscoring the Wolves 38-17 in the second frame. Malik Beasley shot 3-9 this game, continuing his season-long slump, and after this latest performance, it might not be a terrible idea for Chris Finch to give some of these Beasley minutes to Jaylen Nowell for a while. I am really high on Malik and think he can be a valuable part of this team, but if some of these players can’t start producing on a consistent basis, that player might need to cede minutes to someone on the bench who can.

Not to be outdone with a horrendous offensive performance, the Timberwolves also strung together a really poor showing on the defensive end as well. The Clippers shot 53.5% from the field and 40% from three while outrebounding Minnesota 58-40. Simply put, there was no effort exerted from the Wolves in tonight’s game. This really looked like a game from last year’s Wolves. Coach Finch even said in his post-game interview, “we were out there performing, not really competing.”

Anthony Edwards did attack the rim a lot tonight, but he finished with just 21 points on 9-of-22 shooting. You knew Ant would go down swinging (or in this case shooting), but his shot simply wasn't falling and you could tell it affected his engagement level on the defensive side of the ball.

Looking at the game as a whole, this game was lost due to no effort from the start and no production from key players. As Dane Moore also mentioned, after starting the season 3-1, the Wolves at the time were top-5 in the league on defense but now they are 27th, and offense is also 23rd.

Last but not least, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Leandro Bolmaro scored his first career field goal tonight late in the fourth quarter. Congrats Leo.

Minnesota will now head home for a hour-game homestand, sporting a record of 4-8. The season is still relatively early, so it’s not time to panic (yet), at least in my opinion. The addition of Patrick Beverley this past summer gave the Wolves some much-needed grit and toughness, but it will be up to more than just the 33-year old veteran if this team wants to claw their way back to .500.

So what needs to change for Monday’s game against the Phoenix Suns? A lot, but I really believe the Wolves can win that game, but it must start off from the gates. The Wolves have shown they are capable of it and if they come out with energy on both sides, it is a very winnable game. Until then, enjoy your weekend!