GameDay Live Blog: Wolves at Clippers | Nov. 11, 2013

GameDay Live Blog: Clippers 109, Wolves 107






Final: K-Mart got a look, tried to draw the foul and missed his shot. Pek had a look at the put-back and missed, and K-Love had another look at the put-back that rolled out. Ballgame. Wolves fall 109-107. Really nice comeback here that came up short. More to come on Timberwolves.com. K-Mart had 30 again, Love had 23 and 19, and Pek had 25 and 10. LAC 109, MIN 107

Q4 6.9: Blake misses close up, Wolves get the board and call the timeout. LAC 109, MIN 107

Q4 11.8: Clippers call timeout up 109-107 with 11.8 left on the clock. Doc Rivers was literally at center court trying to call that last timeout. LAC 109, MIN 107

Q4 1:37: Interesting play there. The Wolves forced the turnover down four and Brewer went in for a fast-break score. He gets tangled up with Chris Paul, no call despite contact, and then Paul draws the foul on Rubio to go to the line. Clippers back up six. LAC 107, MIN 101

Q4 3:26: Indeed they do have another run in them. The Wolves hacked Jordan and Hollins, sending them to the line to miss free throws. They also got a pair of 3-pointers by Martin, plus a Clippers turnover that turned into a Martin fast-break jam, and it's 101-99 with 3:26 to play. LAC 101, MIN 99

Q4 4:40: The good news for the Wolves: DeAndre Jordan just missed a pair of free throws--including an air ball on the first attempt. The bad news: L.A. is still on a 14-2 run (was a 12-0 moments ago), and they've got a 100-89 with 4:40 left. Wolves ball out of the timeout. LAC 100, MIN 89

Q4 6:19: The Clippers not only took back the lead, they extended it out to nine with a half quarter to play. L.A. powered their way to the rim, drew fouls and punctuated the run with a 3-pointer by Jamal Crawford. The Wolves have been down tonight--they trailed by 11 late in the second--and they made a quick run to erase the big deficit. Do they have another run like that in them tonight? The starters are all back out on the court. LAC 96, MIN 87

Q4 8:45: Minnesota has Love on the floor with a group of reserves in Barea, Shved, D-Will and DC, and they're holding a one-point lead thanks to a combination of some timely offensive rebounds, a couple nice shots and a cold streak by the Clippers' bench. Love is playing beast mode again tonight: He's like a trap when it comes to rebounding, and he's hitting that outside shot with a ton of confidence. He's 4-of-6 from beyond the arc tonight. MIN 87, LAC 86

End Q3: Big swing in momentum there. The Wolves had a chance to tie the game off a missed 3-pointer by Kevin Martin, but DC missed the put-back slam. The Clippers took the ball the other way, and Jamal Crawford hit a 51-footer just on the other side of half court and made this a five-point game. LAC 85, MIN 80

Q3 2:26: Minnesota got into foul trouble early in the third quarter, and as a result the Clippers are getting to the line late. Minnesota needs to watch that here in the final couple minutes and get a fresh slate in the fourth. Meanwhile, the Wolves' starters are still playing bulk minutes in the third--there is a pretty stark disparity between the starters and bench in the plus-minus department. The bench has 10 of the Wolves' 76 points. LAC 78, MIN 76

Q3 6:50: The Clippers seem to be doing everything they can to create some separation here, but the Wolves' starters aren't having it. Even in foul trouble, the Wolves are holding a two-point lead after the Clippers make a run to take a lead. The last Wolves run included a basket by Love and a follow-up transition slam by Brewer. Love now has 21 points and 11 boards for his eighth double-double of the season. He also has five assists. MIN 69, LAC 67

Halftime: K-Mart hit a corner 3-pointer and Pekovic hit a lay-up to close out the half as Minnesota fought back from 11 down to cut this halftime deficit to 1. Pek has 17 points to lead the Wolves, while Love has 16 points, eight boards and 5 assists and K-Mart has 10. For the Clippers, Griffin has 13 points, Jordan and Paul have eight and Redick has seven. LAC 59, MIN 58

Q2 1:34: The Clippers went on a 13-5 run to push the lead to 53-42, but since then the Wolves put up five quick points--including a 3 by Love--and also had a hard-fought basket from Pek while drawing the foul. He's headed to the line after this timeout, and if he hits it will be a five-point game. LAC 57, MIN 51

Q2 6:18: Love is back in the game, and he immediately hit a 3 upon returning to the game. He's got 10 and six here with half a quarter left in the half. Meanwhile, the Clippers are are holding a three-point lead as their reserves have helped turn a five-point deficit into a three-point lead over the past 8-9 minutes. LAC 40, MIN 37

Q2 8:26: The Wolves' bench is trying to hold serve here, but the Clippers are trying to create separation after a 3-pointer by Crawford and what could be a 3-point play by Hollins coming out of the timeout. Love is coming back on the court here with Barea, Shved, D-Will and DC. LAC 34, MIN 32

End Q1: We're seeing a lot of bench play early on tonight, which Adelman said was a possibility after so many minutes logged by the starters last night. Love with two quick fouls aided in that, but we've already seen Barea, D-Will, DC, Gorgui and Shved. Gorgui already with a nice block on Ryan Hollins in the paint, swatting him out of bounds. Love and K-Mart lead the team with seven apiece, and Pek has five. Griffin has 11 on 5-of-9 shooting for the Clippers. MIN 26, LAC 23

Q1 3:08: Kevin Love picked up an offensive foul a minute ago, his second foul of the night. That sent him to the bench in favor of Dante Cunningham. It's poor timing, too, because Love was heating up with seven points on 3-of-6 shooting. Meanwhile, the Wolves own a three-point lead after Chris Paul and Blake Griffin teamed up for a slick pick-and-roll that led to a Griffin lay-up. MIN 22, LAC 19

Q1 5:58: Sweet dish by Ricky finding Pek in the lane for the hoop and the foul just before this first mid-quarter timeout. Pek is headed to the line when we come back. The Wolves are shooting 6-of-13 tonight from the field after shooting 16-of-21 in the first quarter last night. They are 3-of-5 from distances, however, with 3s coming from Love, Martin and Brewer. Meanwhile, Love is matched up with Jordan a bit this first quarter, and he's a load down low. Blake Griffin has taken four mid-range jumpers, too, hitting his first two and then missing the last couple. If I'm the Wolves, I will take that shot selection and keep him out of the restricted area where he's so dangerous. MIN 17, LAC

Starters:

Wolves:
PG-Ricky Rubio, SG-Kevin Martin, SF-Corey Brewer, PF-Kevin Love, C-Nikola Pekovic

Clippers: PG-Chris Paul, SG-J.J. Redick, SF-Jared Dudley, PF-Blake Griffin, C-DeAndre Jordan

Pregame 9:30 PM: Doc Rivers is one of the most accomplished and respected coaches currently in the NBA, and his move from Boston to this Clippers team makes a big difference in their scheming and utilizing of their athletic assets. He is also a coach that can articulate things really well. Here's his take on the Timberwolves. Check it out:

"They run, but they don’t run," Rivers said. "They throw those home-run passes by Love, and they’re fifth in fast-break points so they score but they don’t look like an athletic team. But they’ll use the 24 seconds (shot clock). They’ll wait and wait and wait until you break down and then they’ll take advantage of it. Its going to be a great test for us defensively because its going to take all of you to stop them.”

Pregame 9:20 PM: Before I jump into pregame here, let me just reiterate once again how different Staples Center looks for Lakers games compared to Clippers games. It’s not just the different court and Lakers/Clippers signage around the concourse. The Clippers light their arena just like most NBA teams, while the Lakers use the spotlights on the court and dim the lights on the stands making it feel like a theater. And the Lakers’ big championship banners and retired jerseys on the back baseline wall are all covered up with big posters of the Clippers’ standout players—Paul, Griffin, Jordan, Crawford, Redick, Dudley and Barnes.

Now on to pregame. Clippers coach Doc Rivers was the second opposing coach to reference Wes Unseld when talking about how Kevin Love outlets the basketball. Unseld, a Hall of Famer who averaged 3.9 assists during his 13-year career, was initially brought up by Mavs coach Rick Carlisle because of the similarities he saw between him and Love. You’ve got to believe the Clippers will be ready for those outlets tonight, but being prepared and actually finding a way to slow down Corey Brewer is another thing.

Speaking of Brewer, he said those outlet passes and his activity in the half court is something that not only helps generate offense, but it also helps his defense. When opposing players are following him around, he can tell they’re getting tired, or at the very least irritated, with the amount of running they’re required to do.

“I’ve got the best player every night, so if he’s guarding me he’s going to have to work his butt off, too, just like I work my butt off,” Brewer said. “I just keep running.”

He said he can tell sometimes it has an effect on the guys who are guarding him.

“When I was in college, I’d just turn all the time and guys would find me,” Brewer said. “When you’ve got Kevin Love throwing it 85 feet, it makes a difference.”

For coach Rick Adelman, the starters should once again get their run but there will be opportunities for the reserves to pick up the pace tonight and help alleviate some of the starters’ minutes. Minnesota’s starters played a ton last night, and on back-to-back nights it would be a big boost to get some productivity out of the bench. But it will be a work in progress, Adelman said, and part of it will depend on matchups.

“You’ve got to see—you know your starters are going to start, and you know they’re going to play a lot of minutes,” Adelman said. “Then you go down the line. A lot of times it’s the matchup. Last night the Lakers played small a lot. We can play our guards in that case. If they have a bigger person, we’ll make that adjustment. But these guy, they’ll put two guards out there and then a third guy, and they can all score. I’ll just see how the game goes.”

Adelman said with the Clippers have played one of the strongest schedules in the league to date, so it’s hard to gauge them by their 4-3 record or the fact that they’re scoring and giving up a lot of points.

“They’ve played Miami on the road, they’ve played Houston twice, they’ve lost their first game here (against the Lakers),” Adelman said. “They’re a very talented group, great point guard and they’re going to be a very good team. It takes a while to get teams to find out what they have. You’ve got to let it settle for three weeks or a month before you start to really get a good idea of who you have and what you have. Let the rotation settle.”

One note: Since the Staples Center opened in 1999, only two teams have swept the Lakers and Clippers on back-to-back nights: the 2009 Mavs and the 2004 Grizzlies. Something to keep in mind…

Tipoff and lineups coming soon.

Pregame 5:00 PM: Welcome to Timberwolves.com and today's matchup between the Wolves and Clippers. I'm here in L.A. for the final game of this two-game road trip that began last night with a 113-90 win over the Lakers--a game in which the Wolves pretty much had control and led wire to wire. But they'll have their hands full tonight against the Clippers. Tipoff is set for 9:30 PM on Fox Sports North and 830 WCCO-AM.

Last night was filled with "wow" stats and figures, and Minnesota hopes that momentum will carry into tonight. But the Wolves did play their starters 33, 34, 37, 38 and 38 minutes, and their bench play hasn't been spectacular this season. If the Wolves are going to sweep these back-to-backs on the road, they'll likely need to get some bench productivity tonight.

Coach Rick Adelman said as much during his postgame last night. He said the reason the starters played so much is he wanted to ensure the victory against L.A., and with the Lakers cutting their 29-point deficit down to 14 to end the third, it was important to make sure the Wolves were in control by whatever means necessary.

“Everybody wants to look at that, but I had a feeling—I wanted to win this game,” Adelman said. “I thought it was important that we played this game, but I was going to as we got into the third quarter and the fourth quarter as soon as we got a lead, I was going to get the guys out. And you know, when you’re playing in this league you have a game tomorrow, and now the guys that didn’t play as much off the bench, they’ve got to come in tomorrow and they’ve got to give us something.”

More to come throughout the pregame here on the Timberwolves.com GameDay LIVE Blog, so stay tuned.


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