Clippers fall short against Minnesota, 121-100

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The Timberwolves had a huge second half to pull away with the win in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES — The Clippers struggled to mount a comeback against Minnesota Wednesday after the Timberwolves dished a 40-point third quarter. 

Minnesota continued to prove their worth as a top seed on the defensive end, as it holds teams to the lowest scoring totals per game (107.1 points) and lowest field-goal percentage (44.9%) in the league.

That defensive dominance was most evident to Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue 

“They played better than we did,” Lue said postgame. “Outcoached us, outplayed us, everything.”

Turning point: The Clippers had the four-point advantage at the half before Minnesota broke out on a scoring hiatus in the third quarter. The Wolves closed the period on a 27-8 run over LA. 

The Clippers trailed by 17 points into the fourth, where Minnesota shot 12 of 19 from the field. The Wolves led by as many as 24 points in the fourth before pulling away with the 121-100 victory.

What it means: The Clippers drop to third in the Western Conference standings after Monday’s loss. The team is now 1.5 games behind Minnesota and half of a game behind Oklahoma City at 35-17. 

Monday marks the team’s second loss of the season by over 20 points. 

Hits: Before things began to take a turn for the worse for the Clippers, the team outscored the Timberwolves 12-2 off turnovers in the first half.

Misses: Lue attempted a number of lineups to combat Minnesota’s tough defense, going small then big then small again. Ultimately, the biggest scoring gap between the two teams came in the paint as the Timberwolves outscored LA 64-42.

Stat of the game: Per Clippers PR, Paul George became the Clippers’ career 3-point leader with 7:23 remaining in the third quarter, hitting his 739th to surpass Eric Piatkowski. He helped lead LA in scoring Monday night against the Timberwolves with 18 points. 

Up next: The Clippers have one more game scheduled for this week against the Golden State Warriors Wednesday. Next week the team will wrap up their home stand with a back-to-back against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies Feb. 22 and 23, respectively.