I pray the TWolves got plenty of rest over the All-Star weekend, because from Tuesday's game vs. the Clippers till the end of March the Wolves' schedule is pretty BRUTAL!
Beginning on Tuesday the TWolves will start a back-to-back-to-back set (Clippers on Tuesday, Lakers on Wednesday & the Suns on Thursday). The Wolves will play 19 total games from 1/28-3/30, 13 of those games are on the road, leaving just 6 games played at home. Following these three consecutive games, the Wolves return home and from 3/5-3/10 they play four games at home. Hopefully they have a successful homestand, because following that they play 7 games on the road, from 3/12-3/23!
The Timberwolves had three players represented Minnesota at All-Star Weekend. Ricky Rubio was a part of the Rising Stars Challenge, Derrick Williams joined Ricky in that and also participated in the Slam Dunk Contest and of course, Kevin Love won the Three-Point Contest and played on the Western Conference All-Star Team. Two Clippers joined Love at the ASG; Chris Paul & Blake Griffin both started for the West, Griffin was also a part of the Rising Stars Challenge.
The last time the TWolves played the Clippers, it was a 101-98 win for Minnesota as we saw a thrilling conclusion courtesy of Kevin Love as he nailed a three-pointer as time expired to give Minnesota the W! In that game, the Clips were without Chris Paul who was dealing with a hamstring injury, in his place Chauncey Billups started at point guard and former-TWolf Randy Foye started at shooting guard. Paul will be back for this matchup and Billups won't be (out for the season with an achilles injury), Randy Foye will likely start in the backcourt with Paul. That last game, the Clips were also without Caron Butler, no doubt having him back will be a big boost for this team, as well.
Here's a recap of that last matchup between these two (1/21).
The Wolves entered the All-Star break at .500 on the season, 17-17. They're also at .500 on the road (7-7) and at home (10-10). The Clippers went into All-Star break at 20-11 (and a 3rd seed in the Western Conference), the Clips are also 12-4 at home (with one of those losses at the Staples Center coming to Minny!).
While the Clips will look a bit different from these two teams last meeting, so will the TWolves. In that game back in January Darko Milicic was still starting at center as the "Pek-Citement" hadn't yet begun! The Wolves were also without depth in that game as J.J. Barea & Michael Beasley were out with injuries and Martell Webster & Brad Miller hadn't even played a game, yet this season. The Clips lost Billups but got, arguably their best player back, while the TWolves will be getting their bench back and we get to see the matchup of two very different centers. A big bruiser Nikola Pekovic who relies on his physicality and soft touch in the paint against DeAndre Jordan who relies on his athleticism. An interesting side note, Darko lead the Wolves in scoring in these two teams' matchup with 22 points! Imagine what Pek might do? Pek is more of an offensive player while Jordan is more of a defensive player, definitely the matchup to keep an on eye...well that one and Chris Paul vs. Ricky Rubio & Blake Griffin vs. Kevin Love!
Tuesday's game will also be another chance for us to decide...who's the better power forward. Blake Griffin or Kevin Love. I don't think you'll get much argument that Love & Griffin are the top 2 power forwards in this League! Especially with Dirk having an off year! Last game Griffin had the very slightly better stats, however Love's game-winner was seen by many as the deciding factor in who won that matchup. Take Two should be fun against these two Western Conference All-Stars!
Hope you'll be able to stay awake for tomorrow's game as tipoff is set for 9:30pmCT. Enjoy the game, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!