After a hard-fought loss in Philadelphia to close out the three-game road trip, the L.A. Clippers (39-19) head back west to host the scrappy Minnesota Timberwolves (15-42) in their first home game with fans back. Read on for our full Clippers vs. Timberwolves game preview.
Clippers vs. Timberwolves Game Information
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
When: 7 p.m. PT
How to Watch: Bally Sports SoCal, NBA TV, AM 570 L.A. Sports, 1330 AM Tu Liga
Projected Starting Lineups:
L.A. Clippers: Reggie Jackson – Paul George – Kawhi Leonard – Marcus Morris Sr. – Ivica Zubac
Minnesota Timberwolves: Ricky Rubio – Anthony Edwards – Josh Okogie – Jaden McDaniels – Karl-Anthony Towns
L.A. Clippers: Nicolas Batum – OUT (Rest), Patrick Beverley – OUT (Left Hand Fourth Metacarpal Fracture), Serge Ibaka – OUT (Lower Back Tightness)
Minnesota Timberwolves: Malik Beasley – OUT (Left Hamstring Injury), Jaylen Nowell – DOUBTFUL (Right Tibia Contusion)
The Big Picture
Although relinquishing sole possession of the NBA’s longest active win streak is a bummer, the Clippers have to be feeling pretty upbeat heading into Sunday night’s game. L.A.’s brief 2-1 road trip was ultimately successful, all things considered, with Kawhi Leonard on the mend for all three contests. Showing a lot of fight and resilience despite availability questions surrounding their starting lineup on a night-to-night basis, the Clippers executed a spirited brand of basketball throughout the trip that caught some praise from head coach Tyronn Lue, who mentioned Friday that he’s happy that the team is playing the right way and for one another. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that after 406 days, LAC is set to play its first game at Staples Center with members of Clipper Nation in attendance once again.
With the playoffs starting up near the end of next month, the Clippers remain 3.5 games behind the Phoenix Suns (40-15) for the West’s No. 2 seed. However, with the Suns facing the Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets over their next four games, the Clippers have a great opportunity to drastically make up some ground if they can continue to be consistent occupants of the win column.
Sunday’s contest will be the third and final meeting with the Clippers for Minnesota this season, who is looking for their first road win against LAC since January 2018. Counting down the days in a season that has the makings of the team’s sixth last place finish in the Northwest Division since 2014-15, the young Timberwolves remain firmly in the midst of a rebuild. Just as Minnesota’s pair of 25-year-old stars continue to try to figure out their identity together, off the court the franchise is reportedly in the works of finding its leadership with Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore set to purchase both the T-Wolves and the WNBA’s Lynx.
Minnesota’s path to upsetting the Clippers starts with Karl-Anthony Towns. The big man is having his best month of the season, averaging 29.3 points (50.7% FG), 12.0 rebounds and 5.4 assists through seven outings in April. Heading into tonight, Towns’ dynamic duo partner appears not to be fellow max-contract player D’Angelo Russell, but instead the NBA’s Rookie of the Month for March in Anthony Edwards. The Ant-Man has been on a bit of a tear since becoming an everyday starter back in January, ranking in the Top-5 among rookies in points (1) and steals (4) per game, and in total three-pointers (2). Edwards has recorded at least one steal in 25 straight games, the longest active streak in the NBA. In a bench role with a 25-minute limit restriction, Russell is still working to shake off the rust from a near-month-long absence due to left knee surgery, shooting over 50% from the field in just three of seven games since returning.
Clippers vs. Timberwolves Game Notes
- MVPG: Barring a gameday scratch, Paul George will suit up tonight with a running streak of five straight games with at least 30 points, tied for the best stretch of the sort in his 11-year NBA career. George has career averages of 23.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists against Minnesota.
- Unfazed by the Wolves: The T-Wolves have struggled to contain the Clippers defensively this year as L.A. has put up splits of 52/52/85 in their first two matchups. The Clippers lead the NBA in most games shooting at least 50% from beyond the arc (13), are 20-3 when they make at least 16 3-pointers and are 34-9 when making as many or more triples than their opponent.
- Enter Chris Finch: This will be the Clippers’ first game facing the Finch-led Timberwolves. Named the head coach of the T-Wolves on Feb. 22, Finch has over 24 years of NBA and G League experience, serving most recently as an assistant coach under Nick Nurse’s staff with Toronto this season. Previously, Finch has coached the likes of DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, James Harden, Nikola Jokić, Zion Williamson and Kyle Lowry.
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