The LA Clippers returned home from a three-game Eastern swing and just didn’t have any energy in a listless 122-104 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The first quarter should have been an omen of what was to come for the Clippers. They started off with consecutive careless possessions, turning the ball over unforced.
The first quarter was actually close and the Clippers found themselves only trailing by five, 26-21 at the end of the first period. The second quarter was where the Timberwolves started to gain some separation. The Clippers turnover woes continued and Minnesota took full advantage.
As shorthanded as they are, the Clippers trotted out a lineup of Xavier Moon, Keon Johnson, Amir Coffey, Justice Winslow and Wenyen Gabriel in the second quarter and that was really when the Wolves made their move. They got big contributions from Naz Reid and Jaden McDaniels, and Anthony Edwards got going a little bit right before halftime.
Despite the Wolves being a very good rebounding team and the Clippers having issues on the glass all season, they actually manged to keep the rebounding battle close at the half. The major factors in their 64-46 halftime deficit were their inability to take care of the ball and their lackluster defense that allowed Minnesota to shoot 57 percent from the field and 38 percent from three at the break.
The second half was much of the same with the Clippers never able to mount a serious challenge. The bench lineup from the first half along with James Ennis III were able to cut the lead down to 90-78 for a brief moment before the Wolves, sparked by Patrick Beverley, were able to squash any kind of Clipper momentum and put the nail in the coffin.
- Serge Ibaka continues to be solid on the offensive end. He was a perfect 7-7 from the field for 17 points including 2-2 from three-point range. Unfortunately, he isn’t giving them much of anything else. His presence is very much needed with Ivica Zubac in health and safety protocols and Isaiah Hartenstein out with an ankle injury. When both of those guys return, there just doesn’t seem to be any room for consistent Ibaka minutes outside of spot situations.
- Justice Winlow also continues to be productive on the offensive end. He finished with 15 points and shot 7-10 from the field. He’s settled in more and looks comfortable not trying to do too much. When other players start to come back, Winslow’s role will also be cut back, but his skill-set can definitely help this team in limited minutes.