Week Recap: The Clippers kicked off the week with an eleven point victory Monday night in Philadelphia versus the 76ers. With Matt Barnes and JJ Redick out the Clippers couldn’t rely as much on their deep bench. Point Guard Chris Paul had 25 points and 13 assists, while Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 26 points. DeAndre Jordan was a beast on the boards with 21 rebounds. After winning in Philly the Clippers made the trip to Boston for Doc Rivers’ return trip to the city where he led the Celtics to an NBA title. The Celtics, who cleaned house this off-season, have been surprisingly competitive under former Butler University Head Coach Brad Stevens. The Clippers overcame a six point halftime deficit with a strong third and fourth quarter and then held on for the victory. Jamal Crawford was huge off the bench with 21 points including two dagger three pointers towards the end of the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Chris Paul had a near triple-double with 22 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists. After losing Thursday night in Brooklyn versus the Nets the Clippers rebounded and wrapped up their east coast swing with a huge Saturday night victory over the Washington Wizards. Chris Paul had one of his best games as a Clipper with 38 points and 12 assists. The Clippers shot 56% as a team.The Week Ahead: The Clippers have a huge week ahead with four games at STAPLES Center, all versus Western Conference foes. Los Angeles kicks off the week Monday night when they welcome in Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs for a key Western Conference matchup. The ageless Spurs are playing solid basketball once again with one of the best records in the NBA. The Clippers then welcome in the New Orleans Hornets and the Denver Nuggets Wednesday and Saturday. The Pelicans, who have a talented young roster, are 11-10 on the season and in the race for the final playoff positions in the West. Clippers Vs Pelicans Tickets begin at $10.00 per ticket. The Nuggets, who many picked to struggle due to the retirement of former coach George Karl and roster changes, have played very good basketball after a slow start and are in the thick of the race in the Western Conference with a 13-9 record. The Nuggets are currently tied with the surprising Sun for sixth place in the conference and Nuggets Vs Clippers Tickets begin at $20.00 per ticket. The Clippers wrap up the week when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves at STAPLES Center on Sunday night. Tickets for the Clippers Timberwolves game start at $20.00 a piece. The Clippers had a narrow victory over Kevin Love and the Timberwolves earlier this season.
Analysis of the Minnesota Timberwolves
While their opponents on Tuesday night may have something to say about it, the Timberwolves have gone from a team few cared about to arguably the most fun team to watch in the NBA. After only winning 17 games last year (in a full 82 game season), the T-Wolves matched their win total in just the first half of this season going 17-17 and staying in the playoff hunt out west. The combination of PF Kevin Love and rookie PG Ricky Rubio seems to be the spark this young squad needed to become relevant again.
Analysis of the Los Angeles Clippers
As good a PG/PF combo Rubio and Love are, the Clippers have them beat with All-Stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. The two have put on a show this season combining for 40 points per game on average leading their squad to a 20-11 record in the first part of the season. Currently they’re sitting in the 3rd seed in the Western Conference and will have to at least match their performance during the first half of 2012 in order to keep that seed or possibly move up, something that won’t be easy in the same division as the rival Lakers.
Timberwolves: PF Kevin Love
Love is the star of this team, though he doesn’t make very much noise about it. The young power forward is 4th in the NBA in points per game (25) and 2nd in rebounds (14), making him one of the most effective player sin the game. A tough matchup against Griffin awaits, but Griffin’s focus on offense over defense may be enough for Love to put up a dominating performance
Clippers: PG Chris Paul
Paul is the field general for the Clippers and is responsible for the nightly performance of his team. He’ll get a favorable matchup (as he always does) against Rubio, but that doesn’t mean the night will be his. Rubio is in the top 5 in assists and steals in the NBA (just as Paul is) so a night off for Paul will absolutely mean a loss for the Clips.
The Clippers are a decent team in preventing turnovers, only averaging 14.2 each game (6th in the league). The T-Wolves average 16.2 per game though, 28th in the league. Those 2 turnovers may be the ~5 points that down the Timberwolves in LA, so stopping that from happening will have to be a priority for them.
When these two met in Los Angeles earlier this season Love hit a 3-pointer with no time left to push the Timberwolves to a big win in OT. You have to feel that coming off of the All-Star break both teams will be little rusty but that the Clippers will have the edge due to their depth and talent advantage. The Timberwolves already proved they can beat these guys, but 2 wins against the Clippers in LA is probably 1 too much for this season.
Prediction = Los Angeles Clippers: 95 – Minnesota Timberwolves: 88
Timberwolves Fan? We have Lakers Vs Timberwolves Tickets in stock for February 29th at the Staples Center as well.