The Timberwolves will be facing the Los Angeles Clippers in this first of a two-game road trip (the Wolves face Utah on Saturday). The Wolves will be facing, arguably, the best team in Los Angeles! That title being thrust at them with the additions of Chris Paul & Chauncey Billups and the Lakers' loss of Lamar Odom. The Wolves are 6-8 on the season and 11th in the Western Conference, while the Clippers sit at 8-4 in this young season.
The Wolves are coming off an 8-point win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night, where for the first time in a VERY long time--the Timberwolves won this one on the defensive end. Minnesota never gave up and heading into the final quarter with the outcome still in doubt, the TWolves were able to actually close a team out and secure a victory.
The Clippers are coming off an exciting 2-point win over the reigning champion Dallas Mavericks. That game also took place last Wednesday--so both of these teams have had a day off. The Clips were without their new star Chris Paul who's sidelined with a hamstring strain (there's a chance he won't play tonight either). The game came down to the final seconds or second rather. With just one tick remaining on the clock, Mr. Big Shot rose up for a three and knocked it down. Billups hit the three to win 91-89.
For the Clippers, their starting backcourt saw Chauncey Billups running the point and former-TWolf Randy Foye at the two-guard. Followed by Caron Butler, Blake Griffin & DeAndre Jordan. If Chris Paul isn't able to go tonight, I'd expect the same lineup OR the backcourt could be Mo Williams & Chauncey Billups who could match up well vs. the TWolves starting backcourt: Ricky Rubio & Luke Ridnour.
For the Wolves, it'll likely be the same starting five: Ricky, Luke, Wes, Kevin & Darko. The only change I could see would be Nikola Pekovic into the starting lineup. I wouldn't count on it, but I'd be nice to see considering how awful Darko has been as of late & how effective Pek has been as of late. A bruiser like Pek vs. an athletic monster like DeAndre Jordan would be interesting to watch.
Tonight, perhaps, Minnesota will prove their not the only team who can create "eye candy" alley oops via Ricky Rubio & Derrick Williams/Anthony Randolph. While Chris Paul, Mo & Chauncey toss up dimes to Jordan & Blake.
Watching TNT last night, Shaquille O'Neal stated that if Blake didn't outperform Kevin Love tonight he would do the show in his underwear next week. A regular 25-15 performance from the TWolves' All-Star won't be out of the question. Blake is averaging 21.3ppg & 11.8rpg while Kevin Love counters with 25.2ppg & 14.5rpg. A Blake Griffin--Kevin Love matchup is clearly the key matchup tonight! If Chris Paul can go, it'll be fun to see how Ricky Rubio matches up with one of the top point guards in the League, as well.
Ultimately, I'd expect a very exciting game in LA tonight. If the Timberwolves are able to come out and execute early on and contain the Clippers running game, while shutting down Blake on both ends, the Wolves could potentially snag a win on the West Coast tonight.
That's all for now, we'll have a full gameday recap following the final horn as well as game pictures, video recap/highlights, updated stats & quotes page on on your MnTWolves Basketball Site: HOWL! Thanks for reading and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!