Game: Minnesota Timberwolves @ Los Angeles Clippers
Time: 10:00 p.m.
Odds: Twolves +6.5, Clippers -6.5
The Los Angeles Clippers are very close to being whole again. LA has played just eight games with its two stars – Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. The pair combined for 51 points on Monday as the Clippers defeated the Boston Celtics, who own the NBA’s best record. Tonight, the Clippers look to continue their two-game winning streak as Minnesota comes to town.
Defense has been the key for the Clippers (16-13) this season. They held the Celtics under 100 points for the first time this season. The Clips defense is fourth in scoring and ranks fifth in opponent field goal percentage. In addition to allowing 93 points to Boston, the Clippers allowed 107 in a win over Washington last Saturday.
If the Clippers could get Norman Powell (groin) back in the lineup, they would have their full complement of talent. Powell was expected to return tonight, but he has been downgraded to out. This will be the eighth game that Powell has missed.
The Clippers would love to see Leonard continue his stellar play. On Monday, the LA star hit 10-of-12 field goals and scored 25 points. The Clippers have a chance to match their season-high three-game winning streak against the Timberwolves.
Minnesota is struggling without one of its stars, Karl-Anthony Towns. He suffered a calf strain and will miss his seventh straight game tonight. He isn’t expected to return for at least another two weeks. The Twolves have managed to draw even without Towns at 3-3, but Minnesota is coming off back-to-back road losses to the Portland Trail Blazers. The most recent loss came on Monday when the Wolves were defeated 133-112 by a Portland team that shot 45.7 percent (21-of-46) from three-point range.
In the loss, Rudy Gobert pulled down 20 rebounds and D’Angelo Russell scored 23 points for Minnesota. This season, Gobert has had at least 20 rebounds in four games for Minnesota. Despite Gobert’s best efforts, Minnesota was outrebounded 54-37 overall. Additionally, the TWolves went just 9-of-19 from the free throw line and shot 10-of-27 (37 percent) from three-point range.
Without Towns, the Wolves do not take many long-range shots, ranking in the middle of the pack with 33.0 per game. In order to keep opponents within striking distance, according to head coach Chris Finch, defending the 3-point line is essential.
Minnesota is now 3-6 SU in its last nine games. The TWolves are 4-8 ATS in their last 12 games and in their last 12 against the Clippers, they are 3-9 SU and 4-8 ATS. The Clippers are 5-1 ATS in their last six games against Minnesota at home.
Interestingly, the total has gone Over in four of LA’s last five games. The total has also gone Over in 12 of the last 18 games against Minnesota. In the Clippers’ last nine home games, the total has gone Under.
The Clippers are 7-3 SU and 6-4 ATS in the last ten games against Minnesota. Those ten games have averaged 226.5 points per game. The O/U record is even at 5-5.
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