Nine days ago the Timberwolves took on the Clippers at the STAPLES Center, the result was a two-point loss. Tonight the Timberwolves took on the Clippers at the Target Center, the result was a four-point loss.
The Wolves dug themselves an early hole as the Clippers started the game on a 12-0 run. They quickly got back in the game and were able to stay with the high-octane Clippers offense. The Wolves' transition defense was terrible in those first couple minutes. It was all knotted up at 24 after the first quarter.
The Clippers started the second quarter on an 11-0 run. That was when the Wolves had a complete bench unit on the floor: Barea, Shved, Hummel, Williams & Cunningham. Adelman decided to still stick with those guys despite the Clippers run and they got right back in the game. At halftime the it was tied up at 46.
Ultimately it was one of Minnesota's worst games this season. Their best player struggled all night long, they played sloppily on both sides of the ball and they let a very simple Clippers late offense pick them apart for the W.
It was a back-and-forth affair throughout this one, but Chris Paul exploded in the fourth quarter to propel the Clips to the win. Paul scored 16 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter. CP3 also finished with 20 points & 11 assists to become the first player in NBA history to begin the season with 12-straight point-assists double-doubles.
The simple offense the Clippers ran in the fourth quarter was high screens on Rubio that he couldn't fight through and usually ended in a Chris Paul mid-range jumper. They ran it again and again and it worked every time.
The Wolves got 15 fourth quarter points from Kevin Martin and another 7 from Corey Brewer, but it just wasn't enough.
This is the first game this season that the Clippers have won without scoring 107 or more points. Tonight is also just the third time this season that the Wolves have scored under 100 points, they're 0-3 in those games.
Kevin Martin had his bounce back game and Nikola Peković played REALLY well, but it was the struggle for Kevin Love that doomed the Wolves.
With that in mind, let's take a look at tonight's box score...
Kevin Love finished with just 10 points and shot 14% from the field, 0% from deep and 60% from the line and turned it over 5 times. He did add 12 rebounds and tied a season-high with 8 assists (6 of those assists came in the fourth quarter), but those were the only bright spots for Love tonight--without a doubt his worst game of the season.
The Wolves shot 80.6% from the line, which is a decent percentage for the team, but they left six points at the line and in a four-point loss...well...I'm sure you can do the math...
Minnesota's 34 made field goals ties a season-low and their 37.8% shooting percentage is the second-worst of the year as is their 22.7% from deep. The Clippers' 12 made threes and 50% shooting clip from that distance are both season-highs for a Wolves opponent.
Kevin Martin finished with the 9th double-double of his career and his first since 2009! It was definitely a great turnaround game following his dismal outing in Washington last night. Martin tied a season-high in made field goals (11) and assists (4). His 2 offensive boards, 8 defensive boards and 10 total rebounds are all season-highs.
The Wolves bench finished with 18 points as L.A.'s Crawford nearly outscored them himself. J.J. Barea had rough outing after seemingly getting himself back on track these past couple weeks. When Adelman turned to the bench in the second quarter, that meant Derrick Williams & Alexey Shved saw some playing time. Derrick Williams was aggressive and got himself to the line, yet he still seemed to settle for a lot of the shots he took. His one offensive rebound is the first of the season for him. Shved didn't score, but he definitely played with energy and made some good plays--sure the Wolves would love to get some scoring from him off the bench, but what he gave them tonight was just as valuable--played more aggressively on D, made the extra pass and played hard.
The Clippers have now won seven-straight over the Timberwolves. These two teams won't meet again until three days before Christmas (Dec. 22nd)--back at the STAPLES Center.
The Wolves will be back in action on Friday night vs. Kevin Garnett and the Brooklyn Nets at the Target Center, until then thanks for reading and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!