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Preview: Clippers Try to Claw Past Timberwolves

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The Clippers need to find a win. Soon.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Clippers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Picture

Three consecutive losses against teams warming Western Conference playoff seats have the Clippers staring up at the Timberwolves from two games below. We knew the schedule would do them no favors, but this borders the malicious. It’s no way to treat the league’s plucky underdogs. And underdogs they are, with planned mainstays Danilo Gallinari and Avery Bradley collecting dust. The Clippers play with passion and purpose, but guts only get you so far when you’re outgunned. It’s been a fun season, and it’s increasingly looking like it’ll be a short one — shorter than we’ve been accustomed to, at least. If there’s any chance for the Clippers to grab a postseason seat of their own, they’ll have to punch above their weight.

The Antagonist

The fall to the bottom of the Western Conference playoff standings can happen quickly. Losing your best player for a sizable stretch is sure to grease the slide. Once solidly in the picture, the Jimmy Butler-less Wolves are back to playing like the untamed pups that have disappointed before. But there’s hope in Minneapolis that the playoff drought won’t reach it’s 14th year. The latter half of the West’s postseason bracket is SO TIGHT — the Wolves are only a half-game out of fifth. Their schedule is light too, filled with empty-calorie games against the likes of the Grizzlies, the Knicks, and the Mavericks. And, as linked below, Jimmy Butler wants to return ASAP so he can get back in shape for the big games. Minnesota’s not panicking yet. These aren’t the Vikings.

The Basics

The Subplots