Los Angeles Clippers @ Minnesota Timberwolves Play-in Preview!

Los Angeles Clippers @ Minnesota Timberwolves Play-in Preview!

Tonight, the Los Angeles Clippers take on the Minnesota Timberwolves, a chance for Minnesota to make the playoffs for the first time since 2018. For the Clippers, this would be their 4th straight appearance. Despite an injured Kawhi Leonard still on the sideline, this will be a very tough game for Minnesota. Below is why either Minnesota or Los Angeles will move on to play the young and aggressive Memphis Grizzlies team in the 1st round of the Western Conference playoffs!

A report came out about what Anthony Edwards—2020 #1 overall pick—thought of how to beat this Clippers team. According to SI.com (Sports Illustrated),”Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves guard) believes the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the LA Clippers if they stop Paul George”. While there is some truth to this theory, I consider it to be false. The Clippers had just below a .500 record without Paul George, in the 51 games LA needed to play without him. This is due to Los Angeles’ 3pt shooting. The Clippers drained 37.4% of their 3pt shots this season, good enough for 3rd in the NBA.

The Timberwolves biggest strength is their paint game, which is pretty obvious when you have Karl-Anthony Towns. However, this didn’t result into FG% as they shot just 45.7% from the field, only 22nd in the NBA. But you’re probably saying, “But Towns averages 25, 10, 4, 1 and 1, he’s unstoppable!” Well, you’re stoppable in a sports argument! I understand the talent of Karl-Anthony Towns. However, the Clippers have Ivica Zubac and his 107.5 defensive rating. That ranks 13th in the NBA in defensive rating, 7th among PF’s/C’s (not including Giannis in this category since he is sometimes a SF). I don’t think Zubac is going to shut down Towns but he will contain him more than most centers do.

To me, I think the Clippers are going to win this game. Going back to Edward’s point, it won’t even get completed since the Timberwolves don’t have any perimeter defenders to guard or stop the 7x All Star. The only way I see the Timberwolves winning this game is if their shooters get hot. I’m talking about Edwards (.357), Malik Beasley (.377) and even Towns (.410). As a team, the Timberwolves shoot 35.8% from 3 (12th in the NBA). However, while their overall team stats don’t say it, the Clippers allow a 33.5% opponent 3pt% with Paul George, nearly a 2% less than they do without George, So, the Timberwolves need to shoot well and I don’t think they can as well as they would need.

I think the Clippers will win this game over the Timberwolves (who have lost 2 out of their last 3 and 4 out of their 7) and move on to play the Grizzlies, hoping Kawhi Leonard gets healthy in time for the playoffs!


Chase Coburn



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