Kick ‘Em While They’re Down: Timberwolves at Clippers Preview


Real mature, Blake, finger pointing

Where: Staples Center

When: 9:30, tonight.

See It: FSN

Hear It: WCCO 830 AM

After a one game absence, the game preview is back! Usually I’m pretty good about getting them up, but sometimes I do have a life that interferes with doing so, unfortunately. What? Why are you looking at me like that? I do have a life! Now that life is calmer today, I give you your Timberwolves at Clippers preview.

The Timberwolves managed to mercifully snap a five game losing streak in Sacramento last night to bring themselves within one game of .500, again. However, tonight is the second game in a three game homestand for the Clippers, who have been off since Monday, so they will be rested, but are also on a four game losing streak, themselves. And the Wolves are on the second night of a back-to-back playing a Chris Paul led team.

This will be interesting.

As far as injuries go, the Wolves will be missing the usual suspects, while the Clippers will be without Grant Hill, and Chauncey Billups, whose return is close, but not quite here yet.

I’ll be interested in see how Adelman works his rotation tonight, and see if he continues to roll with the smaller, nine man bench. I’d imagine that Kevin Love and Andrei Kirilenko wouldn’t see so many minutes, and that those minutes would be divvied up between the bench players in the frontcourt.

The Clippers are already one of the top teams in the Western Conference. However, they can be beat on the glass, and have the second highest Team Turnover Percentage in the league, meaning the Timberwolves could earn some extra possessions tonight.

Surprisingly, the Clippers have been a pretty good defensive team up to this point. Check these figures out:

Defensive Rating: 102.9 (11th)

Opponent Points Per Game: 95.6 (12th)

Opp. FG% Allowed: .436 (9th)

Opp. 3FG% Allowed: .384% (27th)

Opp. Turnover%: 16.4% (2nd)

Nothing really stands out there until you get down to opponents turnovers, where they have been excellent so far, but as I’ve noted above, they end up giving back quite a few of those, too.

Unfortunately for the Timberwolves, the one area on defense they could really exploit the Clippers in is with the three ball. Not that you’ll be shocked to learn this, but the Timberwolves are dead last in the NBA in three point percentage, making .277%. You don’t have to be a total stat head to figure out that’s bad. Like, really bad. The Wolves have been so bad shooting threes that John Wall and DeMar DeRozan make jokes about it. Ok, maybe not that bad, but they’ve struggled shooting from deep so far. Outside of Love, they may not have the means to exploit that weakness in the Clippers defense, either.

If they’d like to torch the Clippers tonight, they will also need better ball movement than they got last night in Sacramento. If the ability to torch the Clippers is there, the Timberwolves will have to scheme to get the best possible looks. Whether those passes come out of double teams from the post, or simply crisp perimeter ball movement, I don’t know– nor would I particularly care how they do it, as long as they do it.

Hey, maybe the Clippers are the cure for what ails them.

Starting Fives:

Luke Ridnour — PG — Chris Paul

Malcolm Lee — SG — Willie Green (I had to double check, but this is actually correct.)

Andrei Kirilenko — SF — Caron Butler

Kevin Love — PF — Blake Griffin

Nikola Pekovic — C — DeAndre Jordan

About Derek James

In addition to writing for Howlin' T-Wolf, Derek James writes about basketball Hardwood Paroxysm in the ESPN TrueHoop Network and covers the Charlotte Bobcats for SB Nation’s Rufus on Fire. Andray Blatche and Isaiah Rider follow him on Twitter.

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