Here’s an interesting fact for you. The Minnesota Timberwolves and the Los Angeles Clippers have played each other three times so far this season. You know what the record is between these two teams? 3-0 Minnesota.
Yeah that surprised me too. How can a team that is composed of Kevin Love and a band of misfits beat a team with Blake Griffin and Chris Paul three times in a row? This is the same Clippers team that has already beaten the Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks this season. They can’t beat the Timberwolves even once?
This is why basketball is such an interesting sport. No matter how good a team is there is always a team out there that will give them matchup headaches. For the Clippers it seems to be the Timberwolves.
And one Timberwolf in particular that seems to haunt them the most is Kevin Love. Two of the three games that these two teams have played against each other have been decided by three points or less.
The very first game was in Los Angeles back in January. Love hit a three at the buzzer to pull out a 101-98 victory for the Timberwolves in that one.
Love’s statistics weren’t very lofty in their second meeting which was also on the Clippers’ home court. Love only managed 10 points and seven boards but they won by a 12-point margin despite huge games by Paul and Griffin.
So after two losses in Los Angeles the Clippers were set on exacting their revenge on Minnesota’s home court on Monday. Love wasn’t having that though and ended up having the biggest game of any player who has participated in the series so far this year.
Love erupted for 39 points and 17 rebounds going 13 of 25 from the floor, 5 of 10 from behind the arc and hitting 8 of his 11 free throw attempts. Although the highlights on Sports Center featured Griffin’s athletic dunks, they failed to showcase the dominant game that Love had over Griffin on the night.
Lob City has been great for the sports show highlights but three straight losses to the Timberwolves shows that there are still some major deficiencies that the Clippers need to address.
One major issue is Griffin’s need to improve his game away from the basket. We all know he can jump over tall buildings in a single bound but when will he ever develop a consistent jump shot?
Many of Griffin’s numbers are down from last season which has to be baffling to Clippers’ management who were hoping that Paul’s presence would help Griffin improve but it has not. Griffin’s rebounds, scoring, assists and free throws are down from his rookie season.
Love has also seen his rebounding numbers and his shooting percentages decrease but he has improved his scoring by almost five points-per-game. Love has increased his scoring by at least three points per game every year he has been in the league which is impressive considering the inconsistent play Minnesota has had at the point guard position during Love’s time in the league.
So can we expect more dominance by the Timberwolves over their Lob City foes? Even if Minnesota makes it to the playoffs it is doubtful these two teams will see each other then unless both make it to the second round.
They do still have one more regular season game to play in Minnesota on April 12th so the pressure is on the Clippers not to get swept. I can imagine that Timberwolves’ fans will have their brooms ready for that one though.
Roosevelt Hall is a Managing Editor for The Sports Blitz. You can also follow him on Twitter @sportmentalist.