The Minnesota Timberwolves are coming off a disappointing four-point loss to a floundering Washington Wizards squad last night and tonight they'll be looking for a bounce back win--unfortunately they'll be facing one of the best teams in the Western Conference--the same team they lost to just nine days ago.
The Clippers are coming off a four-point loss of their own. They fell to the Grizzlies on Monday night 102-106. Memphis' Mike Conley scored 8 of his 15 points during a four-minute stretch in the fourth quarter. CP3 finished just one rebound shy of a triple-double, he finished with 18pts, 9reb & 11ast; Griffin added 23pts & 11reb.
Chris Paul has begun the season with 11-straight points-assists double-doubles. CP3 is the first player since Magic Johnson to begin the season with 11-straight double-doubles and he'll look to break that record with his 12th-straight tonight. Paul's longest stretch of double-doubles at any point in the season in his NBA career is 12.
The Wolves enter tonight 7-5 overall, 5-1 at home and 3-3 vs. the Western Conference. The Clippers are 7-4 on the year, 2-3 on the road and 6-2 vs. the Western Conference. The Clips are seeking their seventh-straight victory over the Wolves. Both of these teams are looking to avoid losing back-to-back games for the second time this season.
The name of the game will be "Hold Them to 106 Points!" The Clippers haven't won a game this season in which they've scored fewer than 107 points! L.A. is averaging an NBA-high 109.3 points and their defense is the second-worst in the NBA (29th) allowing 105.7 a game.
The Wolves are averaging 107.8 points per game (3rd in the NBA) and allowing 100.5 points a game (19th in the NBA). The Wolves are 5-1 at home this season and are averaging 109.8 point per game on 44.2% from the field. Keeping this Clippers squad under the century mark will be no easy task, especially with the high-scoring duo of Paul & Griffin. Blake has had eight games of 20 or more points & 10 or more rebounds in his last 10 outings.
The Wolves need their own high-scoring duo to get back on track. Kevin Martin had his worst shooting night (4-of-17 FG) and his second-lowest scoring output of the season (11pts). Martin will definitely bounce back--we can only hope it's tonight.
The Wolves will be without Chase Budinger (knee), Ronny Turiaf & Shabazz Muhammad (ankle). The Clippers will be without their third-string point guard Maalik Wayns as he continues to rehab from his torn meniscus surgery. Swingman Matt Barnes didn't make the trip to the Twin Cities with a bruised left eye.
Let's take a look at tonight's starting lineups...
Los Angeles Clippers
Nikola Peković had his best game of the season the last time these two teams met--it definitely caught me off guard considering he was matched up against one of the NBA's better interior defenders. Peković also spent some time defending Blake Griffin, I expect to see that again so that Blake cannot use his strength advantage against Love to back him down in the paint for a quick post move and score.
The obvious is containing Paul & Griffin, but with this Clippers team--if you take away them you still have to be wary of L.A.'s three-point shooters. CP3 can drive the lane and draw in the defense to find Redick or Dudley on the perimeter for a wide-open triple. All these offensive weapons are the reason that L.A. is the offensive juggernaut they are and what will make them so tough to defend.
The last thing and the biggest thing is to play a full 48-minute game. If they build a lead they CANNOT get complacent!
That's all for now, tipoff is set for 7pmCT from the Target Center, enjoy the game, thanks for reading and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!