Two days after their reference and flamboyant victory against the Celtics, the Clippers continue with a success of another nature against the Wolves (99-88). Clumsy and sometimes poor in the game, the Californians thus inflict a third defeat in a row on the players of Minnesota, deprived this night of an additional holder in the person of D’Angelo Russell (knee).
Starting the game missing 13 out of 15 shots… This is the ordeal experienced by the Los Angeles players who had to wait a long time before displaying a minimum of offensive assurance. After seven minutes of play, they had scored only … 4 points, where the Wolves, not much brighter, obtained at least passages on the free throw line.
A better passage from Paul George allowed the Clippers to finish better after twelve minutes (19-21) but his team did not show much else in the following period (38-43). Tyronn Lue then had the good idea to leave with Nicolas Batum in his five. The French, Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris contributed to the best offensive of the Clippers, while Kawhi Leonard and “PG” returned only one shot in the third quarter.
With two points ahead and twelve minutes remaining (67-65), the locals were able to count on the awakening of Kawhi Leonard, more aggressive towards the circle and more in control to finish. With the best in attack and a still robust defense, the Clippers took the lead with an 8-0 hit in the middle of the quarter. Anthony Edwards too well taken, the Wolves did not know how to react.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– Clumsiness Festival! To say that both defenses were in place is a fact. But they do not fully explain the concerns of address of all the protagonists. The Clippers benefited from a package of open shots but had to wait until the third quarter to exceed the bar of… 30% success. They finished with a paltry 38% overall, trailing Wolves by a few points at just 42%. The latter have themselves experienced an ordeal at 3-points (18%). At the break, the two teams had accumulated 81 points scored, the least offensive half in the league this season.
– Defense on Anthony Edwards. Evening galley for the back in attack which suffered very many doubles. The pressure was such that he lacked precision in passing the leather on to Rudy Gobert, for example. We think of two successive possessions in the second quarter where “Ant” wanted to send lobs towards his pivot, but the two balls were easily intercepted by the Clippers.
– Paul George’s triple-double. The second leader of the Clippers compensated for his small address level evening by his rebounding and passing activity. With the key to a fourth career triple-double, the first since February 2019, when he wore the Thunder jersey.
– Kawhi Leonard frustrated? When Tyronn Lue took his time-out six minutes from the end, the Clippers were leading by 9 points and “The Klaw” suspected that he would be replaced, potentially not to play again. To see his attitude when returning to the bench, this choice did not please the superstar whose playing time was still under 30 minutes (his limit since his return). His reaction prompted his manager to revise his plans as the winger returned two minutes later to play two more minutes.
✅ Nicholas Batum. The only player on his team, along with Luke Kennard, to finish with at least 50% success on shots (that is to say!), the Frenchman signed the perfect “role player” match. Apart from a walk in transition after a 3-point fake, he generated no waste. Above all, his impact on the score when he was in play was considerable: +30!
⛔ Jaylen Nowell. Not sure if seeing him with the biggest volume of shots on his team is a good sign for Wolves… The substitute full-back tried a lot but finishing with 13 points in 16 shots is a bad ratio. We also saw him lose balls stupidly, on far too predictable passes.
LA Clippers (17-13) : reception of the Suns, the next night.
Minnesota (13-15) : end of “road trip” to OKC, Friday.