Gameday Report: Clippers look to end skid in Minnesota
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The Clippers (37-32) will travel to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves (40-31) on Tuesday night.
The two teams have faced off three times this season, and LA will look to earn its first win over Minnesota this year in the teams' fourth and final matchup.
Here are a few things to look out for in Tuesday’s contest:
No time for losing streaks –
The Clippers have lost their last three games – at Houston, at Oklahoma City and home against Portland – and the Wolves have lost their last two – at San Antonio and home against Houston.
Both teams need these mini losing streaks to come to an end.
Last week, the Clippers were sitting in the seventh spot in the Western Conference standings, having won nine of their last 12. For a majority of the season, the Wolves were challenging for the third and fourth seed in the West. However, as is the case with the West this season, things changed in an instant.
Postgame Sound: "We’ve just got to hoop man. Just go have fun…and compete and let things come. We can’t ease into things…but we do have to have a sense of urgency." - @AustinRivers25 on the next 13 games— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) March 19, 2018
Three consecutive losses have dropped the Clippers to 9th, and losses in five of their last seven have the Wolves clinging to the eighth spot, with the Clippers just two games back.
Tuesday’s matchup will have major playoff implications, as seeds 5-10 in the West are separated by a mere three games.
In addition, LA’s schedule won’t soften up in the least after Tuesday. The Clippers will travel to face Milwaukee on Wednesday – the East’s eighth seed – on the second night of a back-to-back, before traveling to take on the East’s fourth seed, the Indiana Pacers, and the East’s top seed, the Toronto Raptors, on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
Which teams will show up? –
During the Clippers’ recent three-game slide, the team has seen its numbers dip across the board.
In the 10 games prior to their last three, the Clippers were averaging 114.4 points per game on 49 percent shooting, second in the league in both categories. But over the last three, LA is averaging 106.0 points per game on 46 percent shooting from the field, good for 12th and 20th best in the league, respectively.
LA has also allowed 108.3 points per game this season on average, but in the last three, the Clippers’ defense is allowing 114.7 points per game.
The case is similar with the Wolves, who defensively, have allowed 107.6 points per game this season, but have allowed 114.4 points a contest over the last seven, a stretch in which they've gone 2-5.
The thought, presumably, among many is that with Minnesota guard Jimmy Butler out with a knee injury, the Clippers’ chances at a victory will significantly improve. However, in the teams’ last matchup, which took place on Jan. 22 at STAPLES Center, Butler was also out of action.
In Butler’s absence, Wolves forward Andrew Wiggins scored 40 points and point guard Jeff Teague scored 30 to lead Minnesota to a 126-118 victory.
Minnesota is yet to face the new-look Clippers with forward Tobias Harris leading LA’s offensive charge, but regardless, LA will have to put an emphasis on slowing down Wiggins and the rest of the Wolves’ young core.
Tuesday’s game will tip-off at 5:00 p.m. PDT.