Wolves Fall to Clippers
The Minnesota Timberwolves held their own in the first half and the fourth quarter against one of the Western Conference’s best team. It might be an understatement to say that the third quarter didn’t go quite as well on Monday night against the Clippers, as Minnesota fell 114-104.
Early on, it looked like it was going to be a 3-point contest for the Clippers, as they made three early shots from deep. They finished the quarter going 5-of-11 from deep, due to a combination of hot shooting and poor defense from the Wolves. Luckily for the Wolves, they were able to escape just a 26-22 deficit after the first. Mostly due to the fact that the Clippers weren’t very good from the rest of the field, finishing the quarter shooting 32 percent.
With no Blake Griffin (back spasms), the rebounding battle was between DeAndre Jordan and Kevin Love. The two didn’t disappoint, combining for 21 first quarter rebounds. Love finished the first with 10 points and nine boards.
Wolves vs. Clippers
Nikola Pekovic (ankle) was forced to exit in the first half. He did not return.
The third quarter was an ugly one for the Wolves. LA went on a 22-5 run in the middle of the quarter, giving the Clippers a comfortable 88-66 lead going into the fourth, ultimately giving them enough cushion to ice the game.
“The worst part about that (the third quarter) was that it was a like a three on two break every single time,” said Wolves coach Rick Adelman. “It wasn’t like we were making them work. It was layup after layup.”
If there was a silver lining in this game, it’s how well the bench played in the fourth quarter despite looking like the game was over. Rookies Shabazz Muhammad, Gorgui Dieng and Robbie Hummel combined for 36 points on the night, while Chase Budinger added 12 off the bench. The Wolves outscored the Clippers 38 to 26 in the final period.
“We had some activity and some production (from the bench),” Adelman said. “… If you would have told me we scored 38 points in the fourth quarter, I’d say ‘Really? We must have won by a lot.’ But we just got back in the game. That’s all we did.”
Love led the Wolves with 20 points and 13 boards. Dieng led the second unit with 14 points, while Hummel and Muhammad had 11 each. Kevin Martin was the only other Minnesota starter to hit double-digits, finishing with 12 points.
Darren Collison led LA with 28 points, shooting 9-of-17 from the field. Paul added 22 points, nine assists and seven boards. Matt Barnes had 19 points, while Jared Dudley had 16 while filling in for Griffin. DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and a career-high 24 boards.
The Wolves are now 36-37 overall.
Leader of the Pack: Kevin Love
Despite playing on the second night of a back-to-back, Love played nearly 30 minutes and finished with a team-high 20 points and 13 rebounds. He also added four assists and a steal.
Don’t Blink Highlight of the Night
The famous Young MC performed “Bust A Move” to the Target Center crowd at halftime. People got on their feet and it seemed like they were pretty darn excited to see the Grammy Award Winner.
The Numbers Game
Wolves vs. Clippers
“Energy… We just have to be stronger; that’s it.” – Wolves point guard Ricky Rubio on what the team needs to do on the second game of a back-to-back. The Wolves are 4-12 this season in their second games.
The Wolves stay at home for Wednesday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies. The game will start at 7 p.m. and will air on Fox Sports North and WCCO 830-AM.