Los Angeles Clippers (11-9) vs Minnesota Timberwolves (8-11)
5:00 p.m. PST
December 7, 2015
Fox Prime Ticket
Last time they met?
November 29, 2015 — It was just over a week ago when the Clippers still had Chris Paul and J.J. Redick in the line up. Those two put up 38 points on the T’wolves starting back court, which was without Ricky Rubio. Blake Griffin sealed the deal with 12 points in the final six minutes to lead the Clippers to a 107-99 victory.
It’s a streak
The Clippers have beaten the Timberwolves 13 times straight, dating back to March 5, 2012 when Kevin Love had 39 points and 17 rebounds in a win against LA.
On the road
This kicks off a season-long 5-game road trip with stops also in Milwaukee, Chicago, Brooklyn and Detroit. The team plays three other 5-game trips this season including another later this month.
1. Is the whole no 4th quarter minutes thing for Karl-Anthony Towns a good idea with terrible execution?
William Bohl, A Wolf Among Wolves (@breakthehuddle): It’s a perfectly acceptable idea (Gorgui Dieng has been playing well, especially in crunch time) with very sloppy execution. Don’t get me wrong – Gorgui Dieng has played pretty well lately, and I’m all for making KAT earn crunch-time minutes instead of handing them out – but it seems like Sam Mitchell is just being stubborn, especially when he won’t insert Towns for rim protection, an area he is clearly superior to everyone else on the roster.
Michael Shagrin (@mshaggy): I feel like I’m supposed to have a strong opinion about this but it just seems like one of those marginal storylines that gets blown up because the kid is a favorite for rookie of the year. Could Sam Mitchell figure out a way to get Karl-Anthony just a couple minutes in the fourth quarter every night? Sure. But if there was a problem with the doling out of late game playing time, it’s probably that Mitchell is leaving the rather impressive Gorgui Dieng in for the ENTIRE final frame. Athletes get tired too, Sam.
J.D. Evans: It’s really only defensible as a way to help him if he’s playing poorly, and after the Blazers game, it’s hard to say he’s been playing poorly. He’s inconsistent. Of course he is: he’s a rookie. Deng is good, so it’s not like they can be accused of tanking, but so far Towns looks like the franchise, and they might as well get him a standard amount of game time.
2. Are you vibing to Luc Mbah-a-Moute starting at the 3 for the Clippers?
Bohl: The Wolves had LRMAM a couple of seasons ago; he definitely couldn’t dribble, and he couldn’t really shoot, but he was a fine wing defender. With the Clips, he should never have to dribble and they need his perimeter defense, so the question is whether his spot-up shooting will be up to snuff. If he can knock down enough corner threes to help the spacing, he could be a nice fit in the starting lineup.
Shagrin: No, but we should get used to it. He’s the quintessential Riversian plug-in—reliable, mediocre, old. Prince Luc isn’t terrible, but where does that get you when you’re sitting behind San Antonio and Golden State? His subpar shooting means opponents don’t have to respect him on the perimeter and his defense is more responsible than lockdown. In a perfect world, the (potentially) dynamic Lance Stephenson gets another shot, but who knows whether Doc’s short leash has already inflicted irreparable psychological damage on the poor kid.
Evans: Not really, and particularly not if the starting back-court isn’t running even better than we expect. At some point, either Stephenson or Johnson has to take that position as his own; there’s no way a team can win in the long run if their starting five only has three guys who can shoot from mid-range, particularly if only two of those guys can score without someone else setting them up.
3. In the old man pick-up game of 2-on-2 between Garnett & Miller vs. Pierce & Prigioni, who you got?
Bohl: Pierce and Prigs can shoot from the perimeter; KG and Miller can’t… though they could have some success posting up a little bit. But hey, three is more than two, right? Give me the Old Man Clippers over the Graybeard Timberwolves. One thing is for sure – the trash talk in this game would be freaking legendary.
Shagrin: Brought to you by Aetna and IcyHot! Can I pick the trainers? They’re the real MVP.