The Minnesota Timberwolves continue their road trip, playing Western Conference playoff squads. After a loss to the Warriors last night, it'll be a matchup with the Clippers at Staples Center tonight.
The Clippers have clinched the Pacific division for the first time in franchise history and today they'll be seeking a franchise-best 31st home victory.
The Clippers are currently the #4 seed in the Western Conference. Because they clinched the division they're automatically guaranteed a Top 4 seed, hence the reason that they sit above the Memphis Grizzlies who they should be a game and a half behind.
The Clippers have beat the Wolves in four straight meetings and will be looking for the season series sweep in this one. If they're able, this will be the Clippers' first series sweep over the Wolves in 20 years (since 1992-1993).
The Clippers are heading to the playoffs in a second consecutive season--this is the first time since 1992 & 1993 that they've accomplished that feat.
The Wolves on the other hand, are just hoping to win a 30th game this season. They are lotto-bound yet again as they'll miss the playoffs for a ninth consecutive season.
The Clippers have done very well against a Kevin Love-less Timberwolves team and will look to continue that dominance tonight. If the Wolves want a win in this one they'll need a much better effort than in Tuesday's game in Golden State. The Wolves were killed by the Warriors' deep shooting. Yesterday it was three-point shooting, tonight it will be containing Griffin and finding a way to slow down CP3.
The Wolves will be without Kevin Love who is undergoing season-ending arthroscopic knee surgery as well as Brandon Roy (knees) and Malcolm Lee (knee/hip). Roy has said he hopes to play again at least once this season, perhaps one of Minnesota's final two home games. He also stated that he has no plans to retire and isn't sure what his future in Minnesota will be. Nonetheless, he won't be a Timberwolf come 2013-14.
The Clippers are almost completely healthy and they could get that way tonight. Chauncey Billups has missed five straight games with a groin injury, but hopes to return tonight after practicing on Tuesday.
Let's take a look at tonight's probable starting lineups...
Should be a good battle of the point guards and I know I'm not the only one who will be keeping an eye on Ricky's & Chris' steal totals in this one. After Ricky's one steal last night, Paul leads the NBA with 2.43 and Ricky's second at 2.40.
The biggest concern will be who is guarding Blake Griffin. Unfortunately it'll probably be Derrick Williams and that could spell trouble. I'm really hoping to see Andrei Kirilenko matched up against him instead and maybe Williams vs. Butler.
Tipoff is another late start (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!