Wake Me Up When January Ends: Clippers at Timberwolves Preview

Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman returns tonight in addition to Alexey Shved and Nikola Pekovic. Although, they may need to keep a #5 jersey on hand just in case.

Thankfully, tonight is the last game the Timberwolves will play in the month of January. January has not been kind to the Timberwolves with a rash of injuries that, combined with the absence of coach Rick Adelman, has led to a 3-11 record in the new year. While January, has been rough and needs to end, the Timberwolves’ struggles go back to December 17th as they have compiled a Rambis-esque record of 5-15 since then.

As for the Clippers, after going 26-3 from early December until about January 19th, have since struggled to a 1-4 record over their last four games and will be missing Chris Paul tonight. Chris Paul was a major factor in that incredible thirty game run in December, but the Clippers will still provide a tough challenge for the Timberwolves tonight.

There is some hope. Rick Adelman returns to. So does Nikola Pekovic. Alexey Shved will return tonight as well. I think by now we can make a pretty solid case for Rick Adelman to be team MVP this season as we saw how he held this team together through the early season injuries, although we’re now past the early season injuries and on to the midseason injuries.

Ugh.

Does it feel like this is the tenth time the Clippers and Timberwolves have met this season to anyone else? Would it surprise you to learn this is just the third time these two teams have met this season, because it sure surprised me. It probably feels this way because, one, they met about a week and a half ago, and, two, the Clippers have won both meetings.

I’d throw out some stats and numbers, but given all of the injuries to both teams I don’t think they’d be particularly relevant to this game. I just know that the Clips are 4th in opponent points per game, but they’re likely a respectable defensive team still, at worst. And the Wolves’ effectiveness on both ends will depend on how close to form Pek and Shved return to, so it’s hard to use their season stats. All I do know is that when the Clippers have been clicking on all cylinders they’ve been the best team I’ve watched this season, but, again, they are without a pretty important cylinder– Chris Paul — even though they still have other weapons.

Hey, if the Timberwolves can’t right the ship tonight there’s always Friday when they play the…*checks the schedule* crap, the Lakers. Who wrote this schedule?!

 

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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