The Back Story:
- December 6, 2008 in Minneapolis - Clippers 107 - Minnesota 84 box score recap
- January 19, 2009 in LA - Minnesota 94 - Clippers 86 box score recap
The Big Picture:
Of all the surreal aspects of this forlorn Clippers season, one has a tendency to get overlooked. When the Clippers traded for Zach Randolph, the big question was whether there would be enough minutes for three quality bigs. As it happens, that hasn't really turned out to be a problem. For six games in March, the Clippers three bigs (making a combined $35M give or take) played together. That's it - six games all season. Oh, and of those six, one was against the Warriors and another was against the Knicks, so playing three bigs for 96 minutes wasn't even remotely an option. With five games left, the Clippers are facing the possibility of missing all three of their bigs tonight against Minnesota. Camby is likely done for the season with a sprained ankle, Kaman has the flu and is no doubt not really anxious to push himself to get back out there, and Randolph has been suspended for the next two games following his DUI arrest. Leaving us to watch a likely starting front court of DeAndre Jordan and Brian Skinner. In other words, the Clippers will be incredibly reliant on their backcourt tonight. Can Eric Gordon and Baron Davis do enough to carry the Clippers?
The Timberwolves won three games in November, two in December, two in February and three in March - and ten in January. Talk about your outliers. Of course, January happened to be after Kevin McHale had taken over as head coach, and before Al Jefferson tore his ACL. Without Jefferson, the Wolves have been pretty bad, and it's easy enough to see why. Rookie Kevin Love has played well, and even earned the March Western Conference Rookie of the Month award, but pretty much the rest of the roster is suspect. Randy Foye has some talent, but doesn't really have a position as an undersized shooting guard. Sebastian Telfair can't shoot. Craig Smith is also undersized for a four, which he seems to overcome at least against the Clippers, but then again he plays the same position as Jefferson and Love. So while the future likes bright in cities like Memphis and Oklahoma City, it's still pretty hazy in Minneapolis. Jefferson is a beast, and they can try to build around him - but it doesn't seem to be happening so far. As for tonight, Foye will miss the game, Love has had the flu and may not play, and Smith is dealing with a strained calf muscle. Even Rodney Carney is questionable after hurting his hip in Denver on Sunday. So they could be even more shorthanded (or is that less longhanded?) than the Clippers.
- My season finale. The kids have spring break next week, and I'm taking the family to Mexico. So as it happens, this is the last game I'll see this season. Should be a doozie. With Jefferson and Love and Smith all missing Minny's last game, Mark Madsen played a season-high 15 minutes. I sure can pick 'em.
- Rookie Time! Here's my proposal to MDsr - give Baron the night off and start Mike Taylor, Eric Gordon and DeAndre Jordan together again. That's a game between two sub .300 teams that I could get interested in.
- Shelden Williams. Apparently, Shelden Williams is now on the T'Wolves. Huh, who knew? He was the fifth pick in the 2006 draft, and it's far from certain that the Wolves will pick up their option for his fourth season after he washed out in Atlanta and Sacramento. Williams (and Adam Morrison for that matter) was drafted ahead of Brandon Roy. Ooops.
- Eric Gordon. With no low post scoring, the Clippers will be looking to Gordon to put up a lot of points. The Wolves porous defense is not likely to prevent it. It could be a big night for EJ.
- Superstar for one game. Who's left standing? It's got to be Ryan Gomes, by default.
Traitor! You're a spy for the wolves, aren't you?
- Get the Wolves perspective at Canis Hoopus.