Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Clippers
Wolves (25-34) vs. Clippers (35-23) - 7 PM Target Center
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North
Where to Listen: 830 AM WCCO
*Get your questions on the radio airwaves during halftime! Just tweet questions to @WolvesRadio and listen to the halftime show hosted by John Focke on WCCO 830 AM.
With seven regular-season games remaining, the Timberwolves will be looking to snap their seven-game losing streak tonight against the Clippers and finish the season on a positive note. With a win tonight, the Wolves would sweep the four-game season series against Los Angeles.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Target Center
Minnesota suffered yet another setback in their 113-107 road loss to Denver last night, as All-Star forward Kevin Love suffered a mild concussion after taking an elbow to the head in the first quarter. Love stayed overnight at an area hospital for precautionary reasons.
Despite losing Love’s scoring presence fairly early in the game, however, the Wolves managed to come back from a 24-point deficit to tie the game in the fourth quarter. Anthony Randolph scored 28 points, Derrick Williams scored 27 and guard JJ Barea dished out 15 assists.
The Clippers are coming off a narrow 100-98 victory last night over the Thunder led by Chris Paul with 31 points, including a game-winning layup with 8.8 seconds remaining. Los Angeles has won eight of its last 10 games and will be looking to get their sole win against the Wolves this season.
Last time out
The Wolves squeaked by with a 95-94 win in their last matchup with the Clippers on March 5 at Target Center. Although the Clippers had fewer turnovers, a higher shooting percentage and a rebounding advantage (63-53), the Wolves had a 22-9 advantage on the fast break. The Clippers were also 21-for-32 from the foul line, with a missed free throw opportunity from Chris Paul that would have tied the game in the final seconds.
Minnesota was led by the strong play of Kevin Love, who scored 39 points and had 17 rebounds on the night, despite the presence of fellow All-Star power forward Blake Griffin, who finished with 26 points and 12 boards.
The Wolves have come out on top in all three of their games against the Clippers this season, with a 101-98 win on Jan. 20 and a 109-97 victory on Feb. 28, both in Los Angeles.
Containing Blake Griffin
Wolves Minute with John Focke
Although Love got the best of Griffin in their most recent contest, Griffin outscored him in the first two matchups of the season, scoring 21 points on Jan. 20 and 30 points on Feb. 28. Griffin is averaging 25.7 points per game against the Wolves this year, and 9.7 rebounds. If Love is unable to play tonight, the Wolves will need to find a way to contain Griffin’s power inside. Center Darko Milicic has had success doing so in the past, but hasn’t played since March 18 (strained right hamstring). The Wolves would also likely need a strong offensive performance from Williams like he had in Denver.
Critical play from Randolph
Having averaged only 9.7 minutes of play per game in April and 9.5 minutes for the month of March, Randolph was called upon last night in the absence of Love and delivered 28 points on 11-of-16 shooting in 31 minutes. Randolph also tallied six rebounds and five blocked shots.
The Wolves will be looking for more from reserves like Randolph, Derrick Williams, and Michael Beasley as they move toward the end of the season with key players missing from the roster.
Love’s status is still unknown for tonight’s game against L.A. Wolves guard Luke Ridnour has missed the past four games with a sprained right ankle suffered April 2 in Sacramento, and guard Wayne Ellington did not play in last night’s game due to back spasms. Milicic did not travel with the team on their trip to Denver on Wednesday.
The Wolves have returned several recently injured players to the court, including center Nikola Pekovic who returned April 2 in Sacramento after being sidelined for the previous seven games with bone spurs in his right ankle. Guard JJ Barea returned April 4 against Golden State after missing six games because of a bruised right quadriceps, and forward Michael Beasley returned for the April 7 game in New Orleans after missing the prior five games with a sprained great toe on his left foot.
The Clippers have been without point guard Mo Williams, who has missed their last 11 games because of a strained great toe on his left foot.
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