The LA Clippers head to Minnesota for a matchup against the Timberwolves on Friday night. The Timberwolves have dropped six straight and look to get back on track, while the Clippers have won five of their last six and look to stay the course. The Clippers will have to do so without the help of defensive specialist Patrick Beverley, as he’s out with a concussion.
The Timberwolves have slid from 10-8 and in the top eight in the Western Conference to 10-14 and currently sitting at 11th in the West, all in the past two weeks. Even while averaging over 116 per game over the last three, Minnesota can’t seem to buy a win.
Meanwhile, the Clippers are ranked sixth in the league in scoring, averaging 115 per game, including 119 over their last three games. The spread in this matchup favors the Clippers by 5.5, with the over/under at 233.
The White-Knuckle West
The NBA’s Western Conference should be a lot of fun down the stretch, as there are currently five teams with 15 or more wins on the season. Although there are two teams below .500 in the top eight of the conference standings, the Timberwolves are going to have to battle to catch back up after their six-game skid.
While they currently rank sixth in rebounds and seventh in scoring, Minnesota’s defense gives up way too much and is ranked 27th in the league.
With Jeff Teague now coming off the bench, both ends of the floor are squarely on the shoulders of Karl-Anthony Towns and the much-improved Andrew Wiggins, who’s finally showing his NBA form. Both players are averaging around 25 points per game, while Towns brings 11.7 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game to the equation. To beat the Clippers, Minnesota needs monster games from these two.
Making It Look Easy
The Clippers’ lockdown defense, as well as their fast-paced offense, has made their schedule look easy so far. They will miss the defensive prowess of Beverley, but Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are also able to lock down opposing shooters. Leonard and George combine for over three steals per game to go with their scoring, with Leonard averaging 24.9 points and George 23.2.
Los Angeles is ranked sixth in the league offensively, one spot ahead of the Timberwolves, but the Clippers’ defense is mountains better. They rank 12th in the NBA, allowing 107.7 points per game.
They also rank second in the league, averaging 11.6 offensive rebounds per game, making it tough for teams in transition. Towns is going to have to get down and dirty on the defensive end when rebounding.
Best Not Overthink
The Clippers are head and shoulders the better team here. It’s best not to overthink this one, but if you want to dig a little deeper, the 17-9 Clippers are 15-11 against the spread. The Timberwolves are only 9-14-1 against the spread this season, which ranks 29th in the league.
The pick here is an easy one, Los Angeles wins and covers the spread with ease.