GameDay Live Blog: Wolves vs. Clippers | Nov. 20, 2013

GameDay Live Blog: Wolves vs. Clippers | Nov. 20, 2013



Final: That's a wrap. Chris Paul did the damage, and J.J. Redick iced it in a 102-98 Clippers win. K-Mart finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds, Pek had 20 points and seven boards, Brewer had 17 points and Love had 10 points and 12 boards. More to come on Timberwolves.com. LAC 102, MIN 98

Q4 31.0: Chris Paul continues to do Chris Paul things. After Martin brought it to three, Paul took another shot and score to push it to five. Timeout Adelman. LAC 98, MIN 93

Q4 2:31: Wolves cut it to one at 86-85, but Chris Paul is going nuts here in the final minutes. He has 11 of his 15 points in the fourth, now has his 12th straight point-assist double-double to start the season. That's a new NBA record, passing Magic in 1990-91. LAC 94, MIN 87

Q4 5:19: Nice sequence there for Pek. He blocks a Blake Griffin shot in the post, then gets a feed from Love on the other end for a cutting lay-up. He's got 20 tonight along with seven rebounds. The Wolves have cut this lead down to three at 81-78 with the Clippers heading into a timeout. LAC 81, MIN 78

Q4 6:40: With the Wolves down 9 trying to make a comeback, Rubio forces the turnover and gets the ball up in front to Brewer on the fast break. Brewer fouled hard by Jordan and takes his time getting up. Jordan called for a Flagrant-I, Brewer hits both free throws and the Wolves get the ball down seven. LAC 81, MIN 74

Q4 9:46: It's a game of runs, right? Well, the Clippers are on a 7-0 run right now to start the quarter. Minnesota calls a timeout to try and regroup. LAC 78, MIN 67

End Q3: J.J. Barea narrowly missed a half-court shot at the end of the third. It was a similar heave to what Jamal Crawford threw up in L.A. on the 11th, only that one somehow went in. The good news is the Wolves are only down 71-67 heading into the fourth even though the Clippers pushed their lead to eight just a couple minutes ago. Love headed to the bench near the end of the third shaking his head in bewilderment--kind of a "this never happens" type look. It's true. I can't remember a night in the last couple years when Love went 2-of-14 for seven points and eight boards through three. We'll see if he picks it up in the fourth. LAC 71, MIN 67

Q3 3:51: Another collection of runs here in the third, and right now the Clippers have extended their lead back up to six after a Blake Griffin powerful move to the hoop on Kevin Love. Love, by the way, is having a rough night with just seven points and five boards. He is 2-of-13 from the field, 0-for-3 from 3 and 3-of-6 from the line. LAC 65, MIN 59

Halftime: After that first half, why wouldn't we be tied 46-46 at the break? The Clippers ended this quarter on a 7-0 run and knotted this game up. Martin and Pek each have eight, Love has seven, Brewer has six and Rubio has five. DC, Hummel and D-Will all have four off the bench. For the Clippers, Redick has 10, Crawford has eight, Bullock has six and Collison has five. This game is all runs, literally. The Clippers opened up both quarters on 12-0 and 11-0 runs, then ended the quarter on a 7-0 run. In between, the Wolves put together a collection of runs themselves that always brought the team back and even put them up seven with just two minutes to play in the quarter. One thing the Wolves need to shore up is their transition D. The Clippers have a 17-4 advantage on the fast break. Teams are taking away the Love outlet passes, and over the last few games it has been far less noticeable. Minnesota needs to find a way to reverse these two trends, because it was a big reason for their early success. MIN 46, LAC 46

Q2 1:55: Just a quick update here in this Game of Runs: The Wolves are now up seven--their largest lead of the night--after a Brewer corner 3 and a nice mid-range jumper by K-Mart off the offensive rebound. The Clippers have gone a little cold here, but if this game has taught us anything both teams can go hot and cold at any minute. Stay tuned. MIN 46, LAC 39

Q2 4:12: So the Wolves come back and take the 36-35 lead, and then the Clippers come right back w/ a pair of baskets to make it 39-36. Just keeping you up to date, folks. It's a game of runs, you know? LAC 39, MIN 36

Q2 6:50: And just like that.....the Wolves are within two. Derrick Williams is 3-of-3 from the line, Robbie Hummel has four and DC has four of his own. Nice response out of the timeout for the Wolves. LAC 35, MIN 33

Q2 9:05: Remember how the Wolves erased that 12-point deficit? Well they're back down 11 here 3 minutes into the second. The second unit of Barea, Shved, D-Will, Hummel and DC went scoreless in these first 3 minutes while the Clippers' bench put together a quick run. LAC 35, MIN 24

End Q1: Well after all that, the Wolves and Clippers are tied 24-24 after 1. Minnesota completely erased their 12-point deficit and actually took a one-point lead on a Love turnaround hook, and after the Clippers hit a 3-pointer to take the lead right back Rubio scored on a driving reverse lay-up to tie it at 24-all. Minnesota bumped its field goal percentage up to 45.5 in the last eight minutes of the quarter, and Rubio has the lone 3-pointer of the night. For two teams that are in the top 5 in 1st quarter scoring, 24 points apiece might not be conventional but it is welcomed by the Wolves after that start. MIN 24, LAC 24

Q1 2:53: The Wolves answered back the way they needed to, going on a 12-4 run right out of that last timeout (including an 8-0 stretch) and brought them back to within four at the time. They're establishing a balanced attack here as Love, Pek and K-Mart each have four, Ricky has 3 (on a 3-pointer from the wing) and Brewer has two. Since the timeout, the Wolves have just one turnover and didn't allow points off it. They're coming out of the timeout with Robbie Hummel and Dante Cunningham in for Pek and K-Mart. LAC 21, MIN 17

Q1 8:31: Adelman is forced to burn an early timeout as the Wolves fall behind 12-0 quickly to the Clippers. Minnesota is 0-for-4 from the field and have turned the ball over four times in the first 3 1/2 minutes. The Clippers have seven points off those turnovers. J.J. Redick has eight points already and is 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. His first shot was an airball, but he's 3-for-3 since. We'll see how the Wolves correct how stagnant their offense looks right now. No movement early on. LAC 12, MIN 0

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 7:00 PM: Rick Adelman said pregame one part of the Clippers' success this year has been Jamal Crawford off the bench, and that is certainly one portion of the LAC roster that could be a difference-maker tonight against Minnesota. Crawford played 31 minutes off the bench last time these two teams played, went 7-of-11 and scored 18 points. The three most thrilling points of that bunch came on a 51-foot heave at the end of the third. That made 3-pointer ended up being the difference in the 109-107 win.

“Yeah, he killed us last time," Adelmlan said. "He’s a really valuable player off the bench. He comes in and their second group kind of plays around him. You know, and we definitely remember that from the last time we played them. So we have to do a better job on him. We did not do a good job the last time.”

One last pregame note: Shabazz Muhammad will miss his fourth straight game with a sprained right ankle.

Pregame 6:25 PM: If you cover the NBA and Doc Rivers isn't in your top five current most charismatic coaches, I need to take a look at your list. The guy is a great quote, and tonight's pregame was no exception. A few notes from his media availability here:

River answered extensive questions about his trip to center court during the Clippers' first matchup with the Wolves in Los Angeles on Nov. 11 when he tried to call a timeout on the team's last offensive possession of the game. Rick Adelman still holds firm that Rivers should have received a technical and that he's never gone that far out on the court to get a timeout. Rivers, on the other hand, maintains there is no good way to approach that situation and he needed to get out there to get the ref's attention. Chris Paul had the play in hand and Rivers didn't like what he was seeing in the set, so with all the referees looking at the play--as they should, he noted--he needed to get out there and get their attention.

He said Flip Saunders talked with him earlier, and Rivers shared a little tid-bit from that conversation.

"Flip of all people, I mean my gosh," Rivers joked. "When he was over there talking I said, 'Flip, you coached from mid-court."

As for the game, Matt Barnes will not be available due to a left-eye contusion. He did not travel on the two-game road trip. Rivers did say he thought the Timberwolves left a favorable impression on him when they met last.

"They're just solid. Solid at every position," Rivers said. "I think Kevin Martin was a great pick-up, and I think Corey Brewer was a brilliant pick-up. Absolutely like the perfect fit for that team. They needed a guy that can score without ever having a play called for him and do the dirty work. Someone clearly had to help Flip Saunders with that one. I don't know how he figured it out. It was a terrific pick-up."

As for the Blake Griffin vs. Kevin Love matchup, Rivers wasn't exactly sure which was the tougher player to guard. Both have such similar numbers, but Rivers accurately pointed out how different the two players are.

"I'm glad I'm not guarding either one," Rivers said. "Both are terrific in their own right."

And then there was the best one, when talking about Matt Barnes' availability tonight:

"I don't know, I'm not a real doctor," Rivers said.

Pregame 3:00 PM: Welcome to Target Center as we get set for tonight’s matchup between the Clippers and the Timberwolves. Lots going on here, so we’ll go piece-by-piece in this first post and then go from there as we talk with players and coaches leading up to gametime. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on Fox Sports North and 830 WCCO-AM.

Let’s start with the overall matchup. The Clippers are getting a ton of notoriety and publicity about their team this year, and rightfully so. I picked them to be a top four team in the West this year, and when it’s all said and done they very well could be. Their “Core 3” players in their starting lineup (Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan) are not only effective at their respective positions, but two are perennial All-Stars and all of them combine to be highlights waiting to happen. Then you add in J.J. Redick to stretch the floor with his perimeter shooting and Jamal Crawford off the bench, and this team has all the makings of a competitive ballclub. But the key down the stretch will be Doc Rivers, who will get this team fine-tuned and have them prepared to be tested in the postseason. He’s an elite coach in this game.

But the Wolves match up with this Clippers team very well, because in many ways they have similar strengths. Where Chris Paul runs the pick-and-roll and nabs steals on the defensive end, the Wolves have Ricky Rubio doing similar things. Where L.A. has Blake Griffin scoring near the rim at the power forward spot, the Wolves have Kevin Love doing the same while also stretching the floor to the perimeter. Where DeAndre Jordan scores and rebounds inside, Nikola Pekovic has that same capability. J.J. Redick and Kevin Martin have both started strong from 3-point land, and Adelman is the same type of top-tier NBA coach. There’s a reason why last game on Nov. 11 in L.A. came down to the final possession, and throwing out the injuries last year and going back to two years ago, Minnesota actually took three of four against the Clippers in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 campaign.

The difference tonight will probably be bench play. Jamal Crawford does his thing every single night, bringing on average 15.8 points per game off the bench. He, along with bench regulars Darren Collison and Matt Barnes, have helped give the starters reprieve throughout the year. The Wolves have struggled with bench production, and they’ll need to get a punch off the bench from J.J. Barea—who has played well as of late—along with Dante Cunningham, Robbie Hummel and Alexey Shved to help Minnesota’s starters out. The Wolves’ starting five are all averaging more than 32 minutes per game this year—including 34 minutes or more from Kevin Love and Kevin Martin. The Clippers have only three starters averaging more than 30 minutes per night.

In their last matchup, a 109-107 Clippers win, L.A. sprinted ahead by double digits in the second quarter, lost the lead and then took a double-digits lead late in the fourth. Each time, Minnesota responded with quick, timely runs. The last one came up one field goal short, but Minnesota had two put-back attempts late in the ballgame to make it happen. When you pair that game with the Love 3-point buzzer-beater in January 2012 or the Chris Paul missed free throw at the end of a 95-94 Wolves win in March 2012, you’ll see these teams often match up well. Should be a good game tonight.

If you don’t have tickets, take a look and see if you can find some on Timberwolves.com/WolevsTix. I always have the Heat, Thunder and Lakers at the top of my must-see games live due to LeBron, Durant and Kobe, but the Clippers are another team near the top of the list because of the athleticism and talent Paul and Griffin bring. As always, if you are at home be sure to follow us along on Twitter and on the live blog while you’re watching on Fox Sports North or listening to Alan Horton on the Wolves Radio Network.

Here are a few notes for tonight’s game.

  • The Wolves lead the all-time series 48-46 and are 29-18 at home. The Clippers have won the last six games in the series, including the last three at Target Center.

  • Wolves Notes

  • If the Wolves win tonight it will improve their home record this season to 6-1, equaling the best start at home in franchise history through seven games. The Wolves also began the season with a 6-1 home record in 2005-06, 2001-02 and 1998-99.

  • Kevin Love has 11 double-doubles in 12 games this year. He has recorded a double-double in 9 straight road games -- the longest active streak in the NBA. Love has recorded a double-double in 137 of the 158 games he's played (86.7%) since the start of the 2010-11 season. Only Dwight Howard 164 in 220 games (74.5%) games and Blake Griffin (140 in 239 games (58.6%) have more double-doubles over this stretch.

  • Love has scored 23+ points in a career-high-tying eight consecutive games. Only Kevin Garnett (12, 2/2/03 - 2/26/03) has a longer streak in franchise history.

  • Love has recorded seven 25-point/10-rebound games this season. There have been 40 such games in the NBA this year with DeMarcus Cousins having the second most with four.

  • Nikola Pekovic is averaging 16.4 points on 69.2% shooting (36-for-52) over his last five games, including scoring a season-high 23 in the previous meeting with the Clippers. He had averaged 12.0 ppg on 40.3% shooting (31-for-77) in his first seven games of the season.

  • J.J. Barea has scored in double-figures in three straight games. He is averaging 15.3 points on .538 shooting (21-for-39) over this stretch. Barea has 25 assists/5 TOs in the last five games.

  • Corey Brewer leads the league with 82 fast-break points this year. The next closest player is James Harden with 56.

  • Clippers Notes

  • The Clippers had their four-game winning streak, and nine-game home winning streak (dating back to 4/3/13), snapped Monday vs. Memphis, 106-102. The Clippers are 7-0 when scoring 104+ points this season, 0-4 when scoring 103 points or less.

  • The Clippers rank 1st in the NBA in scoring with 109.3 ppg, 3rd in field-goal percentage at .478, 3rd in assists with 25.8 apg, and 8th in steals with 9.18 spg.

  • Blake Griffin was named Western Conference Player of the Week for Nov. 11-17. He helped the Clippers to a 3-0 week with averages of 25.7 points (tied for 3rd in the West), 11.3 rebounds (9th in the conference), 4.7 assists and 1.0 steals. Griffin leads the NBA with 162 points in the paint. The next closest is LeBron James with 154.

  • Chris Paul has a point/assist double-double in all 11 games he's played in this season -- tying Magic Johnson (1990-91) for the NBA record for point/assist double-doubles to start a season.

  • DeAndre Jordan has tallied 16+ rebounds in five games this season -- he had seven such games in his previous five seasons. Jordan leads the NBA with 5.1 offensive rebounds per game.



  • For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.