For the past couple weeks we've heard plenty of speculation surrounding Michael Beasley & Derrick Williams. There've been trade rumors that have Beasley going to the Lakers, Celtics & Nets and at least one reported deal that would send D-Will to Orlando. Tonight they proved they're anything, but 'expendable'. They each scored 27 points apiece which was part of the 72 bench points Minnesota scored (a season-high & and NBA-season high!) (franchise record is 74). Their contributions in the fourth quarter sealed the win for Minnesota as the Wolves had their second unit out there to close out the Clippers (who were playing their starters), which allowed Rick Adelman to keep his key guys/starters (Rubio, Love, Pek) on the bench. Both Beasley & Williams had 13 points apiece in that fourth quarter, 26 total (of Minnesota's 36 fourth quarter points). I mean, I could honestly go on and on about their contributions tonight, perhaps we'll highlight some other things as well though...
The TWolves got off to a rough start and yet, they were inexplicably only down by three points at halftime, after two quarters of less-than-impressive play. The Clippers were up nine points after the first quarter, after Blake Griffin exploded for 18 of their 31 first quarter points. Thanks to the efforts of Darko Milicic late in the fourth and in the second quarters, as Blake had just 12 points the remaining three quarters, only 2 in the final quarter. Chris Paul did his best to get his team the W and had 10 of his 27 points in that final quarter, but, the hot shooting of the Wolves' versatile forward combo: Beas & D-Will, 54 points from those two as well as 11 from Webster was enough for the Timberwolves to move to 2-0 vs. the L.A. Clippers this season.
With this win the Timberwolves are now tied at 9th in the Western Conference and are now just 0.5 game(s) out of the 8th seed, they also tie Denver for 3rd in the Northwest Division with matching 18-17 records (also tied with Denver in the Western Conference [9th]).
Let's take a look at some of tonight's key players individual stats from tonight's game...
Derrick & Michael did incredible, but they came up big in the second half. At halftime, Williams had 11pts and 3rebs on 5-6 shooting and 1-1 from deep. That means in the final two quarters he scored another 16pts, added 2rebs, and shot a perfect 4-4 from the field, 3-of-3 of that came from three! Beasley had 9pts, 2rebs and was 4-8 FG and 1-1 from deep at haltime. Which means he added 18pts, 3rebs, and shot 7-of-7 from the field and 2-2 from deep! Incredible performances for these two versatile forwards! Kevin Love, who went down with an injury (what the training staff called a rib contusion) played just 25 minutes, and had 10pts on 4-of-13 shooting and 7rebs & 2ast, according to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune, Love says he'll definitely play tomorrow vs. the Lakers!
For the Clippers, it was the opposite. They had great performances from Griffin & Paul at the half, but faltered in the second half as the Wolves ran away with the win. 24 of Griffin's 30 total points came in the first half as he was held to just 6 points over the final two quarters. Paul was consistent all night, scoring 13 in the first half & 14 in the second half. Ultimately, a big key to the TWolves' victory was Darko & Pek locking down on Blake in the second half!
Do we really need to further highlight what the keys to this W was tonight? Clearly it was Minnesota's hot shooting from the field and especially from deep as they closed out L.A. in the fourth as well as that 72-11 advantage in bench production. With 27 each Beas & D-Will combined from 54, Webster added 11 (7 of which came in the 4th), Barea (who last game [vs. UTA] had 22pts) added 6 and Darko rounded it out with a free throw. They also limited turnovers against a very good defensive Clippers squad. Minnesota's 27 assists is also a season-high!
That's all I've got for now. The TWolves are back in action tomorrow vs. the Lakers (right back in the same building, so hopefully D-Will & Beas continue their hot shooting at the Staple Center...we'll get to that in the preview tomorrow, though). Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!