Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Clippers

Setting the stage

The Timberwolves wrap up their four game road trip on Wednesday night in Los Angeles, facing the Clippers.  Also of note for fans, tonight’s game will be broadcast on NBA TV.

The Clippers come into the game off of a home loss against the Hornets on Monday night.  Blake Griffin will look to rebound off an abysmal showing Monday; 1-9 from the field for 4 points and 6 rebounds, before fouling out.  By his standards, Griffin is off to a pretty slow start this season, with both his points and rebounds down for the second consecutive year.  The ‘other’ LA team is actually led by Jamal Crawford’s 18 ppg, but true to form, he is doing very little else for the team aside from scoring.  (To be fair, that is what they need him for and what he was signed to do.)

Despite being coached by Vinny Del Negro, the Clippers are 8-6 on the season and currently tied for 1st place in the Pacific division with the Warriors.  They are putting up 99.5 ppg as a team, good for 8th in the league and holding opponents to 95.6 ppg (12th in the league).  Despite Blake Griffin and the growth of DeAndre Jordan’s game and role on the team, the Clip Joint are 24th in the league in rebounding at 40.4 a game.

The Pups are playing the tail end of a back to back after last night’s much needed win in Sacramento.  The win snapped their five game losing streak and moved the team 6-7 on the year and in a logjam / tie for 9th place in the conference.  Tuesday night’s win was a true team effort, with all five starters in double figures, led by Kevin Love’s 23 point, 24 rebound performance.  That performance was Love’s 16th 20-20 game in his young, but brilliant career.

Coming off the win, the Pups slightly improved their team’s season averages.  While still one of the lower scoring teams in the league (92.1 ppg for 27th place) the team improved to 5th overall defensively, holding opponents to 92.5 ppg so far this season.  The Wolves are 7th in the league in rebounding at 44 per game and will look to exploit their advantages in this area vs. the Clippers tonight to create some easy baskets.

Player to watch

Chris Paul – Prior to joining the Clippers and growing a prima donna attitude, I loved how Chris Paul played the game.  Truth be told, he still plays largely the same way, I just don’t like all of the whining and flopping that he has become accustomed to doing over the course of a game.  So with that prefaced, it will be interesting (and probably painful for Pups fans) to see what Paul does against the Twolves PG’s.  You might see a 20 point, 20 assist game here tonight.  Paul had a rough game last Wednesday against OKC, but I don’t believe the Wolves will be able to march out Thabo Sefolosha to guard him.  Paul’s averaging 16.4 ppg and 9.3 apg and I can’t imagine those numbers dip after tonight’s game.

Match-up to watch

Kevin Love vs. Blake Griffin – Was there any doubt that this would be the match-up selection?  Love comes into his first back-to-back series of games on the season due to his injury and it will be interesting to see how he follows up his monster performance from last night.  Is his conditioning in a good enough place to be able to handle heavy minutes in a back to back?  As mentioned earlier, Griffin’s stats are a little down this year but you know both guys will be ready to showcase their talents and try to stake their claim as the best PF in the league.

Predictions

Final score prediction: Minnesota 99 – Los Angeles 96

Three stars of the game predictions:

  1. Kevin Love
  2. Chris Paul
  3. Josh Howard (break out game alert)

Let’s go Wolves!

Comments

  1. John says

    Update: AK47 is scratched from tonight’s game to give his back spasms a rest. I can’t say I’m surprised given the amount of minutes he saw last night in Sacramento. This also makes my “Josh Howard” pick a little more appealing, huh?