Scouting Report: Wolves (5-2) at Clippers (4-3) | Nov. 11, 2013

Scouting Report: Wolves (5-2) at Clippers (4-3) | Nov. 11, 2013

 



Timberwolves at Clippers | 9:30 PM — Staples Center

Where to Watch: Fox Sports North

Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM



The Los Angeles Clippers have made basketball fun again for fans of LA’s “other team.”

For the first time in quite a while, the Clippers are LA’s main attraction and for good reason. After mixing things up by acquiring arguably the league’s best point guard in Chris Paul before the 2011-12 season, the Clippers have been improving their roster every year since.

This offseason the Clippers brought in J.J. Redick, Darren Collison and Jared Dudley, hoping to make that leap from good to elite in the Western Conference.

The Clippers have said that they are trying to get away from the “Lob City” nickname they received when Paul joined the squad.

We’re not buying it.

Doc Rivers and Rick Adelman appreciate good defense. For some reason, we think this could get their blood boiling a bit with all of the offensive power on the court. The Clippers are No. 1 in the league with 110.0 points per game. The Wolves are sixth at 105.0 points per night.

This should be a fun one.

Last Meeting

The two teams last battled on April 10 during the 2012-13 season and the Clippers came away with a 111-95 win at the Staples Center.

The Wolves, without Kevin Love, were led by Nikola Pekovic. The bruiser finished with 20 points. La Mirada, California native Derrick Williams finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, but shot just 3-of-12 from the field. Alexey Shved and J.J. Barea both scored 12 points off the bench, while Luke Ridnour (now with Bucks) finished with 11.

Both Paul and Griffin scored 19 points. The crafty point guard also dished out 11 assists, six rebounds, four steals and two blocks. Willie Green finished with 15, while shooting 3-of-3 from long range. Matt Barnes and Jamal Crawford led the bench with 25 combined points. Both DeAndre Jordan and Caron Butler (now with Bucks) scored 10.

Minnesota shot just 38.9 percent compared to LA’s mark of 57.1.

The Clippers swept the Wolves in last season’s four-game series.

This Week’s Results

The Wolves not only snapped their 22-game losing streak to the Lakers on Sunday—they did it in style. Minnesota scored 47 first quarter points, picked up a triple-double from Ricky Rubio and double-doubles from Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Love and another 27 points from Kevin Martin. Minnesota led by 29 at one point and never truly lost control from wire to wire.

The Wolves also came away with a win on Friday night at home against the Dallas Mavericks. In the 116-108 win, Love had another very Love-like night, finishing with 32 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.

Fun fact: Those 15 rebounds were one more than the combined totals of Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki and Samuel Dalembert.

The other Kevin, Kevin Martin, also had 32 points and shot 3-of-5 from the 3-point line. Corey Brewer got his offense on and finished with 17 points. Pekovic scored 15 points as well.

With Williams out due to back spasms, rookie Robbie Hummel played 10 minutes and 57 seconds and scored the first two points of his career.

The Clippers played just once over the weekend, but made it count as they defeated the Houston Rockets on the road, 107-94, ending their two-game losing streak.

Wolves Minute: Nov. 11, 2013

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The starters and bench played well in this one. Both Griffin and Redick finished with 22 points. Paul scored 14 points and dished out 13 assists while Jordan scored 12 points and hauled in 18 rebounds.

Something to keep an eye on this season is Jordan’s offensive game. While it’s a small sample size, he’s averaging 2.2 more points and 2.5 more offensive rebounds per game this season than he did in 2012-13.

Jamal Crawford and Collison finished with 16 and 10 points, respectively.

What To Watch: Kevin Love vs. Blake Griffin

It seems like these two have been battling over the league’s best power forward title for the last two or three seasons.

Last season wasn’t much of a competition as Love missed the majority of the season with a hand injury.

In seven games this season, Griffin is averaging 21.7 points and10.7 rebounds per game while shooting 58.7 percent from the field.

The two players play very different games. Griffin’s athleticism has paired almost perfectly with Paul to create alley-oop after alley-oop. He’s more of a dunker inside than an actual shooter. Griffin is a liability late in games, considering the fact that he’s shooting 61.1 percent in his career from the free-throw lane.

Last season, 330 of Griffin’s 577 made field goals came at the rim. Just 93 came from 16 feet to the 3-point line.

Love is the exact opposite. During his 2011-12 season, Love made 170 shots (of 474 total made shots) from 16 feet and beyond. What’s even more amazing that Love’s rebounding numbers still rank among the league leaders despite playing on the perimeter offensively.

Love played in just one game against Griffin and the Clippers last season and finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds. In four games against the Wolves last season, Griffin averaged 22 points and 8.7 rebounds.

Let’s get off the court here for a bit. One thing these two do have in common are their great acting skills. Love is known for being Uncle Wes in Pepsi’s “Uncle Drew” commercials and Griffin is classic in his Kia commercials.

This one, though, is my favorite. It was filmed during the NBA lockout. Just watch it.

“Let me help you, frail old man.”

I want to hire Kevin to be my wedding DJ.


Injury Report

The Wolves will be without wing Chase Budinger, who is out while recovering from preseason left knee surgery. Center Ronny Turiaf is out with a radial head fracture. Matt Barnes has missed three straight games with a thigh injury. He is questionable for Monday night’s game against the Wolves.

Probable Starters
  Timberwolves Clippers
PG Ricky Rubio Chris Paul
SG Kevin Martin J.J. Redick
SF Corey Brewer Jared Dudley
PF Kevin Love Blake Griffin
C Nikola Pekovic DeAndre Jordan

 


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