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Clippers vs. Timberwolves preview: Three’s company

Clippers look to solidify a win streak with a rematch with Minnesota

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Minnesota Timberwolves Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

Nicolas Batum in the corner. Reggie Jackson from way downtown. Paul George off the dribble. Wednesday’s matchup against the Timberwolves saw the Clippers, who started this season averaging below 35 percent from three after posting a historic 3-point percentage last season, catch fire from deep. In other words, nature is healing.

Friday, the Clippers have an away game against the Timberwolves again. In a way, the two team’s early seasons are opposites, and almost poetically so. The Clippers, after a disappointing 1-4 start, are looking to establish a three-game win streak tonight. The Timberwolves, after an impressive 3-1 start, are now looking to avoid a four-game losing streak. And if each team needs any added motivation, the fact that this rematch occurs while the sweat from their last game probably still hasn’t completely dried offers that as well.


Game Information

When: Friday, November 5 at 5 p.m. PT

Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

How to watch/listen: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570 ESPN

Opposing perspective: Canis Hoopus

Projected Starting Lineups

Clippers: Eric Bledsoe, Reggie Jackson, Paul George, Nicolas Batum, Ivica Zubac

Timberwolves: Patrick Beverley, Anthony Edwards, Jarred Vanderbilt, Jaden McDaniels, Karl-Anthony Towns

Injuries/Absences

Clippers: Keon Johnson, Brandon Boston Jr., Marcus Morris Sr., Serge Ibaka, Kawhi Leonard, Jason Preston — OUT

Timberwolves: D’Angelo Russell — OUT


Patrick Beverley, a foundational member of the Clippers during his tenure here, is unfazed despite Wednesday’s result. Both Ty Lue and Paul George mentioned the Timberwolves’ defensive pressure in their postgame press conferences. Any Pat Bev locker room embodies a characteristic grittiness, and that’s what stood out to Beverley. “Nothing to be worried about, I’m more impressed by our fight,” Beverley said.

Minnesota’s leading scorer on Wednesday, Anthony Edwards, agreed. “They got hot, but we played good basketball,” the second-year Timberwolf said.

And it’s true, the Clippers did get hot. A blistering 60.3 percent from the field, 58.3 percent from deep, and a 45-point third quarter in which the Clippers only missed 3-of-20 shots is enough testimony for that claim.

While there’s not enough praise in the world to adequately describe George’s hot start to the season (he leads the league in both points and steals per game), the more encouraging sign to Clippers fans may just be the resurgence of the rest of the team. Batum’s efficient 20-point outing was bested only by Jackson’s own 29 points. The Clippers reiterate this in every press conference; if they want to win more games, George needs to get more help.

Perhaps it was early-season jitters. Perhaps it was getting accustomed to the new official game ball. Whatever it is, it seems that Jackson and the other Clippers have turned a new leaf. And with every passing day, Serge Ibaka and Marcus Morris Sr. get closer and closer to their own returns to the court as well. The cavalry is coming.

This game won’t be easy, but no one said it would be. A hungry, young, defensive Timberwolves team is waiting, but the Clippers are ready for them, on the defensive end and perhaps now on the offensive end as well. A win would cement the idea that the Clippers hot shooting was not a fluke, and that the Clippers’ competitive season is here to stay.