Feeling good at home with fans finally back in the building, the L.A. Clippers (40-19) were just about flawless from buzzer-to-buzzer, routing the Minnesota Timberwolves 124-105. Pouring in a season-high 21 3-pointers, the Clippers improved to 21-3 when making at least 16 threes and 35-9 when making as many or more triples than their opponent. Paul George’s five-game streak of scoring at least 30 or more points came to a peaceful end as he racked up 23 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals in a team-high 27 minutes. Returning from a four-game absence, Kawhi Leonard entered triple-double watch early before finishing just shy with 15 points, 11 boards and eight assists. Anthony Edwards led the Wolves with a team-high 23 points and six rebounds. Read on for our full Clippers vs. Timberwolves game recap.
The Clippers sprinted out of the gates as Leonard picked up right where he left off—knocking down a pull-up transition three, finding PG for a wide-open deep ball and finishing a nice running hook. Paul George was the high man in the quarter, leading all scorers with 12 in the period. Karl-Anthony Towns looked to be aggressive for the Wolves, but shot just 2-for-7 from the field while settling mostly for looks from deep. Although the Clippers led by as much as 10, empty possessions and turnovers allowed Minnesota to keep it close, with L.A. up just 29-26 through one.
Shooting 10 of 15 from 3-point land in the second quarter, the Clippers’ historic season-long shooting efficiency made all the difference in them gaining some breathing room. Despite taking just six trips to the line and conceding a Towns and-1 poster on Ivica Zubac, the Clippers disheartened the visitors by shooting 60.9% from the field and dominating second-chance points 15-0. Rajon Rondo looked great as a savvy floor general once again, pushing the pace while setting up Terance Mann for a pair of right-wing threes. At the halftime horn, the Clippers held a 72-53 lead with all of their starters in double-figures except for Kawhi, who just missed the mark with eight points.
In the third quarter, the Clippers’ clinical offensive execution blew the game wide open as L.A. outscored the Wolves 32-16. As the Clippers continued to find the open man en route to knocking down 5 of 10 more from deep, the T-Wolves struggled to find the energy needed to retaliate. Soon after Edwards and Towns picked up their fourth fouls in back-to-back plays midway through the frame, the Clippers took a 104-69 lead into the fourth.
With a full quarter of garbage time to go, the Clippers sat their starters for the rest of the night. Although L.A. ended up losing the fourth 20-36, it was definitely interesting to see some extended burn for DeMarcus Cousins, Daniel Oturu and Malik Fitts. Boogie showed off some of his facilitating ability with three assists, Oturu upped his career-high with seven points and Fitts knocked down the first bucket of his NBA career as the Clippers coasted to the win.
Clippers vs. Timberwolves Game Notes
- If it Ain’t Broke: Almost halfway through the second, KAT and Zubac both picked up their third fouls. Although Zu was pulled, Minnesota left Towns out there for nearly six minutes to close out the first half. Albeit the Clips let the Wolves’ star off the hook by not forcing the issue with him in foul trouble, it fortunately didn’t matter in this one as the rest of Minnesota’s defense presented plenty of opportunities to score with regularity.
- Sticking to the Scout: The Clippers let the Wolves pull threes with little-to-no resistance throughout the night and it worked out in their favor as Minnesota finished 17-for-45 from deep (37.8%). Despite taking the ninth most 3-point attempts per game in the league, the T-Wolves rank just 23rd in 3-point field goal percentage (34.8%).
- 40-Before-20 Club: Clinching their 40th win of the season, the Clippers joined the Utah Jazz and the Phoenix Suns as the third team this season to do so before hitting 20 losses.
- Up Next: The Clippers will travel north to face the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center on Tuesday, April 20 at 7 p.m. PT.
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