The LA Clippers (33-31) dropped their third straight Tuesday night, falling flat at home to the shorthanded Minnesota Timberwolves (32-32), 108-101. Paul George led the Clippers with 25 points (10-21 FG, 3-8 3PT, 2-4 FT), six rebounds, three assists and three steals. Jaden McDaniels was the standout performer in what was a well-rounded effort from the Wolves, putting up a team-high 20 points (8-12 FG, 2-5 3PT, 2-2 FT) and six rebounds. Read on for our full recap of the Clippers’ loss to the Timberwolves.


Tonight’s game officially marked the beginning of the Russell Westbrook and Ivica Zubac partnership and their production quickly became the story of the first quarter. In what was a dynamite offensive start for the Clippers, getting absolutely every look they wanted, the starters were loving life with Big Zu back. Zubac was just about everywhere, more than holding his own against Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley’s actions. Russell Westbrook continued his promising play, routinely pushing the pace and finding guys on quality looks to the tune of five assists: a number that could’ve easily been higher if the guys he hit capitalized or weren’t fouled. Paul George was also engaged out of the gates and would’ve already been in double-digit scoring if not for missing a pair at the charity stripe. Despite leading by as much as 12, some late Minnesota bench threes and three open triples left on the table by Marcus Morris Sr. tamed what was an entertaining quarter from LAC. After one, the Clippers held a 33-26 lead.

While the Clippers executed at a high level in the first quarter, they stumbled repeatedly throughout the second as the Timberwolves made it clear that this would not be a blowout. By way of seven turnovers (three by Mason Plumlee), nonexistent whistles for PG and Norman Powell, and a 10-point quarter from Rudy Gobert, the Clippers found themselves in the midst of three lead changes and two ties in the period. The main takeaway from the quarter was that Tyronn Lue doled out two new small lineups—Russ-Eric Gordon-Terance Mann-PG-Kawhi and Russ-EG-PG-Kawhi-Mook—that simply did not look good, particularly because of the lack of foot speed and physicality. Heading back to the locker rooms, the Timberwolves led 58-56.

Spearheaded by a Norman Powell technical foul-turnover 2-in-1 after another no-call trainwreck drive, the Clippers hit what felt like rock bottom since returning from the All-Star break. Despite Kawhi playing the entire frame, the Clippers lost the third 19-28 on the backs of nine turnovers and a lukewarm 39% shooting from the field. Morris Sr. traveled while trying to work Taurean Price in the post with PG and Kawhi on the floor watching. Russ bricked a transition 3 that led to Prince extending the Wolves’ lead to nine with a triple of his own. Plumlee picked up his third turnover of the game trying to get fancy with the ball in front of Nickeil Alexander-Walker. Minnesota, as advertised, actually had seven giveaways of their own in the third as well, but the overall disorganized, disconnected effort of LAC stole the show. Through three, the Timberwolves led 86-75.

The third quarter was only a sign of things to come for the Clippers as Minnesota held them off the rest of the way. Norm came to life to start, accounting for the Clippers’ first 11 points of the period in the opening five minutes. But, with the deficit hovering at around six from the 9:16 mark, LAC was simply unable to string together the necessary stops to claw all the way back — a back-and-forth affair that was abruptly interrupted by the Wolves’ knockout punch. Down four with under 30 seconds left to play, Kyle Anderson backdoored Kawhi before ping-ponging a pass to a cutting Rudy Gobert for a dagger dunk.

Clippers vs. Timberwolves Game Notes

  • Mo Players, Mo Problems: The Clippers are still far, far away from where they need to be. Ten different Clippers played in this one, predictably excluding Bones Hyland and Robert Covington, and it didn’t take anything special from the opposition to come in and take them down at home at full strength. There aren’t really any silver linings to take away from this one. No otherworldly play from the 213-duo, no free chicken for those in DTLA and no birthday win for Chuck the Condor. After a nice start, the Clippers’ execution deteriorated as the game wore on. The growing pains with trying new lineups, minutes drastically shifting hands and simply trying to fit with each other, saw LAC cough up the ball 24 times as Minnesota worked their way out of the deficit and into a heist of win.
  • Zu-Back: Fittingly enough, Ivica Zubac was the lone Clipper with a positive plus-minus tonight. In his first game back, Zu showed the Clippers everything they were missing the last two games, perfect screens, another rebounder, an elite rim protector and someone who routinely covers up mistakes on the defensive end. Proving his worth once again as a true star in his role, tonight showed that unfortunately, the Clippers’ problems are greater than one player to come in and fix.
  • Senior Suspect: There was already a tough dialogue surrounding Marcus Morris Sr.’s role on the team, and he did himself no favors in this one. Despite playing just 21 minutes, which was still about as much as Nicolas Batum and Terance Mann saw tonight, Morris Sr. looked unplayable once again. Missing open threes, constantly being a step slow on defense and lacking confidence on both ends of the floor, it really feels like something has to give with Senior after this one.
  • Russ-ting Away: For those curious about Russell Westbrook’s individual play, he was once again fine for the most part. Like the Clippers, he too played worse as the game went on, particularly taking some bad jumpers in the second and third quarters that were reminiscent of his last stint. Lue did pull him in the third after one of those said jumpers but then decided to close with him, which just feels like a tremendous coin flip. In the closing minutes, we saw that on full display with him collecting an Anthony Edwards fumble and taking it coast-to-coast before losing control of the ball himself under the other rim. Then, after being baited into a post-up fadeaway miss over Mike Conley, Westbrook sank a huge 3 off a rebound to keep the Clippers close. The man is making good plays happen, but the chaos created by his arrival has been a double-edged sword that truly makes you wonder if the Clippers will just run out of time figuring it out.

Up Next: The Clippers begin a crucial back-to-back set on the road against the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on Thursday, March 2, at 7 p.m. PT.

213Hoops is an independently owned and operated L.A. Clippers blog by Clippers fans, for Clippers fans. If you enjoy our content, please consider subscribing to our Patreon. Subscriptions start at $1 a month and support from readers like you goes a long way towards helping us keep 213Hoops sustainable, growing, and thriving.

Ralston Dacanay

Ralston Dacanay

Ralston joined 213Hoops as a game coverage writer in March 2021. A class of 2020 alum of California State University, Long Beach, he graduated with a B.A. in Journalism and a minor in Finance.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments