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Game Preview #25: Clippers at Wolves

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Will he play or will he not? The tale of two stories.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

The story of tonight’s game should and will be about the potential return of Karl-Anthony Towns. It’ll be one of two different stories tonight. Let’s take a look at tonight’s tilt.

(This was written an hour prior to tip)


Game Info

Who: Los Angeles Clippers (17-8) at Minnesota Timberwolves (6-18)
When: 7:00 pm CST
TV: Fox Sports North (streaming on the Fox Sports Go app)
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio


What To Watch For

  • KAT has been officially upgraded to game-time decision, although he was quick to deny Shams a scoop. It’ll all come down to how he responds in shootaround.
  • D’Angelo Russell is out and listed as day-to-day moving forward with “left leg soreness.” As much as I criticize his play on the court, I doubt that D’Lo is willingly sitting out the chance to play with KAT. No General Soreness here. Here’s hoping to a speedy recovery so we can finally continue our evaluation of a finished product *gulp*.
  • In Russell’s absence: Which Ricky Rubio will we get tonight? The vintage 3-point-making unicorn who drops delicious dimes ala Monday’s performance against the Mavs? Or the creaky old turnover machine who is allergic to putting the orange ball in to the nylon hoop? Or maybe we get a classic JMac performance (See box score further below)?
  • 363 days ago, the Timberwolves demolished the Clippers (with a healthy Kawhi and PG) 142-118 in the debut of the new-look Wolves. What a weird box score that was. This season, the Clippers returned the favor by a score of 101-124 without Kawhi Leonard. Today, Kawhi replaces PG on the active list. I’ll be curious to see how Malik Beasley tries to free himself from the claws of Leonard.
  • In the December matchup, the Clips had blistering shooting splits of 53.8/51.6/87.5 which totaled to a pristine 62.5% eFG. Yikes. It’ll be hard to imagine a scenario where the Wolves don’t live out a similar fate tonight.

Injury Report


Predictions

Story 1

  • KAT [rightfully] sits out the game.
  • While Kawhi removes Malik’s offensive output from this game, Serge Ibaka locks up Naz Reid, and Patrick Beverly is activated to effectively give Ant his rookie hazing. Canis Hoopus watches helplessly as Rubio, Josh Okogie, and Jarred Vanderbilt launch up wild shots just before the shot clock buzzer all night.
  • Ivica Zubac dominates the paint, casually strolling to a 25-10 night. At one point, he bully-balls Jaden McDaniel under the hoop and smashes down a two-handed dunk: And-1. Beverly, Terance Mann, and Reggie Jackson react by doing somersaults off the bench which highlights the cover of the ESPN website.
  • My Twitter feed is smattered with tweets from random local Minnesota sports writers who are applauding Amir Coffey, who gets extended garbage time minutes and scores 19 points.
  • Clippers sleepwalk to a win by a score of 120-99.

Story 2

  • KAT is ready and starts the game.
  • The Clippers forget that KAT is the single best scoring big in NBA history and allows him to go off for 20 points in the first half due to single coverage. They overreact in the second by sending double and triple teams at him, allowing him to find Beasley, Edwards, and Layman cutting to the hoop and spotting up for open buckets. KAT finishes with a 28/12/12 triple double. Welcome back, bitches.
  • Josh Okogie, due to all the attention KAT commands, has a MPE against the Clippers. He knocks down 4 triples in an outlier performance, as Corey Maggette continues to belabor the point “It’s okay, we’ll live with those shots from John Okogie.” Kawhi drops his emotionless act after Okogie drains his 5th triple, and pushes Okogie to the ground while shouting in a squeaky voice which none of us expected, “Dude what the frick, stop making all these shots! You never make these! Come ON... you’re so lucky!” Flagrant 2 - tossed.
  • Jarred Vanderbilt proves to be the ultimate complement to KAT, as he feasts on the boards. His length, athleticism, and energy help him get a career-high 18 rebounds while pestering Ibaka and Zubac all night.
  • Ricky Rubio opens his post game presser with “I want to thank the blog, Canis Hoopus, for always believing in me and going with me through the ups and downs. I read the article that Jake Paynting did on me and I was really impressed with it. Thank you guys.
  • Wolves win 115-108.