It was a tale of two halves, as the LA Clippers rallied from a sluggish 1st half to snap their two-game losing run with a 119-112 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday at Target Center.
Coming off their first two-game losing run of the season, the start of Wednesday’s game hinted LA may be hitting a mid-season funk, but they steered out of the skid and came back strong in the 2nd half to flip the game in their favor.
Patrick Beverley returned to the action in Minnesota, getting the start in Paul George’s place, with George remaining out injured. Otherwise, the starters remained the same for Ty Lue, Reggie Jackson keeping his spot in the starting five. Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Townes returned to the lineup, his first game since Jan. 13 after he contracted coronavirus.
The first half was a slog, basically, for LA. The Timberwolves looked sharp and were faster in all facets of the game, grabbing a quick lead and playing in cruise control.
But the Clippers didn’t throw in the towel and kept chipping away at the deficit when they would go down big, and the 1st quarter showing with Minnesota leading 32-27 was far more kind to LA than the rhythm of play indicated.
It was more of the same in the 2nd quarter, with Kawhi Leonard and Lou Williams in a groove on offense, but everything else was a grind for the Clippers. Still, they kept at it and the teams entered the halftime break with the Clippers trailing just six points, 53-47. Leonard had 16 points and Williams right behind him with 14.
LA entered the 3rd quarter rejuvenated and within four minutes tied the game at 56-56. The shots, such as this one from Jackson to kickstart the 2nd half rally, started falling.
As the quarter wound down, they took the lead and slowly built it, finishing up with an 80-73 edge.
The Timberwolves weren’t willing to give up on the game, and rallied in the 4th quarter. But the Clippers were totally warmed up and in gear and pretty easily controlled the final frame.
Williams hit a season high of 27 points as he filled in as the secondary scoring option with aplomb.
Leonard wasn’t shabby, as he hit 36 points in the game as well, his season high. Nicolas Batum was quiet as a shooter but he had 10 rebounds to lead the Clippers.
All in all this was a good performance for the Clippers. Not only was it good to get off the mark after two losses, but within the game itself they had to fight back to make sure they didn’t get blown out and they did, looking like a totally different team in the 2nd half to win comfortably.
The Clippers will take on the Chicago Bulls Friday evening in Chicago. The first meeting between the teams this season was a close one, with LA edging a 130-127 win at Staples Center. Right now, the Bulls are near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, with a 9-14 record.