There’s a cliche that says that when the ball doesn’t want to enter the rim, it will found ways to stay out of it. An argument like that could be made for the Minnesota Timberwolves based on their game at the Staples Center. The team had the Los Angeles Clippers ready to be buried, but some costly mistakes near the end of the contest were enough to lose the game 120-116 on a thrilling overtime period.
The truth is that Timberwolves did a lot of things right on the offensive side of the ball, especially near the rim. Since Matt Barnes was ejected due to a flagrant-2 foul and Blake Griffin was also fouled out in the first minute of the extra time, the Clippers lacked toughness in the paint and Minnesota’s frontcourt took full advantage of that.
Nikola Pekovic (34 points, 14 rebounds) and Kevin Love (45 points, 19 rebounds and six assists) both had career nights, but their efforts weren’t matched up by the rest of the team in the other end of the court.
With 12 seconds left in the fourth, Kevin Martin lost a ball dribbling in his own half that set up Jamal Crawford’s tying lay-up and in the overtime, the Timberwolves couldn’t execute properly and gave Chris Paul lots of room to manage the offense, something that’s never good for the team matching up with him. The All-Star carried the team on his back and scored nine of his 19 points in overtime to give the Clippers a much-needed win in front of their fans.
Despite the loss, there are plenty of positives for the Timberwolves fans as the team will surely won a lot of games if they can produce this kind of offense on a consistent basis. In order to take the next step, however, the team needs to execute better on crunch time. That’s the only way to win these closed games, but tonight’s performance is definitively a step in the right direction in many ways for Minnesota.