Chris Paul will be beating himself up for the next few days as tonight's loss to Minnesota lingers, as he had a chance to send the game to overtime in the final seconds, but missed the third of three free throws as Kevin Love & Co. took the W and the season series.
The Timberwolves are now 3-0 vs. the Clippers this season and with the win tonight, took the season series. They'll have a chance for the sweep on April 12th at the Target Center.
Kevin Love has been in my MVP consideration as well as anyone else who has seen his entire body of work this season, but with these last two games, how can anyone have doubts?! Following up is 42pts & 10 rebs vs. the Blazers on Saturday, Love dumped in 39pts and grabbed 17rebs against a power forward the rest of the NBA seems to think is the #1 PF in the League: Blake Griffin.
With just under five seconds to play, the Clippers had the ball and were down 3; 95-92. They took a timeout and had the ball out-of-bounds at half-court, the inbounder found a wide-open Chris Paul who threw up a three and was fouled by rookie Derrick Williams. Paul just barely missed the three for what could have been a four-point play, the shot missed off the front of the rim and Paul went to the line for three free throws and a chance to tie the game to send it into overtime with 2.7 seconds to play. Paul made the first two, but missed the final FT as Ricky Rubio corralled the rebound and was fouled to seal the TWolves win.
Darko Milicic was starting in place of Nikola Pekovic (who was out with a sore foot) and had 13pts, 4rebs & 1blk in 28 minutes.
Let's take a look at some individual statistics for each team's key players in tonight's game...
Kevin Love's dominance is becoming second nature, now when he has a 15 point game we call it an off night and these near 40-point performances are becoming his BIG games! His 10 three-point attempts are a new career-high and his 5 three-point makes ties a career-high. He began the game with 16pts in the first quarter, had just 2 in the second, dumped in 12 in the third and his finale was another 9 in the final quarter. Derrick had 15pts all of which came in the first half and 14 of which came in the second quarter!
The Clippers got big games from those three players above. There's no doubt Griffin is a great athlete, but his free throw shooting and defense are the BIG problems in his game. He hit less than 50% of his freebies. Apparently the pressure got to Paul in the final seconds as he had made all his free throws up to that point (8-straight).
Let's take a look at some team stats from tonight's game...
The Timberwolves were out-rebounded, they shot a lower percentage from the field, had more turnovers leading to more Clippers' points, the Clippers' bench outscored Minnesota's and L.A. won the battle in the paint. The TWolves shot a higher percentage from deep, from the line had more assists and VERY surprisingly beat the Clips on the break!
That's all for now. Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!