Shootaround Access: Wolves vs. Clippers
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The Timberwolves learned a bit about themselves over the past week. Heading out of the All-Star Break on a four-game road trip that could have either kept them in the postseason hunt or created further separation from the top eight, Minnesota put together a 2-2 record and gained confidence that they can hang with some of the top teams in the league.
“We continue to win games we might not have won in the past,” forward Kevin Love said. “Portland: we hadn’t beat them since 2005 when I was in high school. Teams like the Clippers: If we win tonight we can win the season series against them. Teams are coming into our building, and we’re going into their building with them saying, ‘We really need to bring it against the Timberwolves.’”
Minnesota hosts the Los Angeles Clippers tonight at Target Center, and when tipoff gets under way at 7 p.m. the Wolves have a chance to win their first three matchups with the Pacific Division leading Clippers this season.
The Wolves are currently 9-9 on the road and 10-10 at home. With only six home contests on the schedule this month—including four this week—Love said it’s important to pick up victories at Target Center while they have a chance.
“You have to win games at home,” he said. “We’re not putting a lot of pressure on ourselves, but we need that extra push at home and the fans really do it for us. We need everything we can get.”
Guard Martell Webster said the team isn’t looking forward to spending so much time on the road—a stretch of seven games in 14 days—but since the team is playing well away from Target Center they’ll need to try and keep their momentum going.
He said he can feel the buzz about a potential playoff berth.
“There’s some electricity flowing around here,” Webster said. “What we want to do is stay focused, keep our eyes on the goal. The fans have been great this year. Very loyal, packing the house. It’s been great. We need to feed off this energy. When you guys bring the energy, we play well.”
Webster continues to improve health
Part of the reason Minnesota had success on the road trip was the team’s bench presence. The Wolves’ reserves outscored the Clippers’ bench 72-11 last week, and in the team’s 122-110 win over Portland on Saturday bench players like Webster stepped up to the tune of 21 points.
Webster, who underwent back surgery in the offseason and missed much of the first half while recovering, said he’s gaining confidence on the court and part of the reason is his health.
“I’m getting healthier,” Webster said. “My legs are starting to get a big stronger, and my footwork is more on point. It’s just about finding a rhythm. I’ve been feeling good out there. I’m getting stronger every week.”
He said he feels about 80 percent right now, and that includes scoring double figures in four three of the past four games. During the team’s 2-2 stretch after the All-Star Break, he’s been shooting at a 66 percent clip from the floor.
“Watch out when I get to 100 (percent),” he said.
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