The Wolves kept this one close through three quarters, but by the final buzzer they were down to just nine healthy guys.
Both Nikola Pekovic and Alexey Shved limped to the locker room during the second half as Minnesota's season just keeps taking hits.
Terry Porter and Co. decided to change the starting lineup and went with Ricky Rubio, Luke Ridnour, Andrei Kirilenko, Derrick Williams and Nikola Pekovic as the starting five. Come Saturday, we may have to see more changes!
After three quarters the Wolves were down just five points as they showed they were able to 'hang' with one of the NBA's premier teams. Yes, I know LAC was without Chris Paul, but their bench is so deep, they're still a very good team without him.
With no Nikola Pekovic in the fourth and losing Shved with just a few minutes to play, the Wolves looked absolutely deflated as the lead ballooned to 15+ points.
The Wolves are now losers of five consecutive games and things aren't about to get easier as they'll face the Rockets on Saturday, followed by the Hawks on the road, before returning home to face the Nets.
Just before tipoff word came that the Wolves have indeed signed Mickael Gelabale, the French swingman we've heard plenty about for the past month. The terms of the deal are currently unknown, but he will join the team tomorrow. Lazar Hayward's 10-day contract expires today and he won't be back. Here's hoping Gelabale can come in and contribute, the last thing we need is someone to keep Greg Stiemsma & Lou Amundson company on the bench.
Let's take a look at tonight's top performers...
Luke had a really good all-around game. He knocked away a couple passes, stripped a few balls on some of the Clipper bigs and hit shots from deep and from the mid-range. He certainly looked more comfortable playing next to Rubio off the ball. Here's hoping this was a sign of a things to come.
Kirilenko struggled from deep, but his all-around game was terrific. He found his way to the rim for easy buckets and putbacks, while also making a big impact on the defensive end with those four steals.
We highlighted that Jamal has struggled vs. the Wolves as of late, but tonight was quite different. With Chris Paul out and Eric Bledsoe in early foul trouble, Jamal got on the court early and was out their quite a bit. His play off the bench as the team's sixth man is a big X-Factor for this Clippers squad. Honestly though, as I noted before--their bench is so deep, he could've played terribly and the Clips still could've left Minneapolis winners.
Griffin one of the West's starting frontcourt players as announced just prior to tonight's game. After he threw Pekovic to the ground tonight, my hatred for Blake was renewed. I'm not a fan of Blake, his high-flying dunks are fun, but he chooses style over efficiency one to many times. His four rebounds and awful mid-range shot still show major deficiencies in his all-around game. I also don't like his attitude, he tries to come across as a nice guy in all his interviews and those dumb Kia commercials, but one of these days he's going to tangle with the wrong guy and it won't end well.
MISC. STATS: Cunningham tied season highs with his four offensive rebounds and four free throw attempts, he also set a new season-high with three made free throws.....Kirilenko tied season-highs with his five three-point attempts and those four steals.....Luke Ridnour set new season-highs in points (21) and field goals made (9), while also tying season-highs i field goals attempted (17), three-pointers made (3) and blocks (1).....Ricky Rubio's two made field goals ties a season-high, while those nine field goal attempts and twenty-six minutes played are new season-highs.....
KEY STATS: Despite turning the ball over 18 times for 18 TWolves points, the Clippers excelled shooting the basketball (as have most teams we've faced recently), they held a +7 edge on the boards, +20 in points in the paint and +22 in bench production. The Wolves did do a good job forcing turnovers and getting out o the break, especially in the first half (12 of their 17 fast break points came in the first two quarters).
MISC. STATS: Minnesota's 77 points are a new season-low and their 35.7% field-goal percentage is their second-worst of the year.....The Clippers' 13 three attempts ties the second season-low for a Minnesota opponent.....
That's all for now, the Wolves are back in action on Saturday night vs. the Houston Rockets at the Target Center, until then thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!