While you could consider tonight a moral victory for this young LA Clippers team, it was ultimately a game they should have won. The shorthanded Clippers stayed in the game due to some gutsy defense, and hot shooting from three point land (15-34). The tightly contested game featured 13 lead changes, 5 ties, and no lead bigger than 8.
Austin River led the way for the Clippers with a fantastic stat line of: 30 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 64% from the field, and 7 threes (70%). The fourth quarter was simply just too much Jimmy Butler though. Butler put the team on his back at the end of the game, scoring 20 of his 33 points in the final 7 minutes of the game. Despite Butler’s heroics, the Clippers lost this winnable game for different reasons.
Every time the Clippers got a stop they needed, or were about to blow the game open, they allowed Minnesota to get an offensive rebound. The Timberwolves had 14 offensive rebounds, with Taj Gibson grabbing 6 of them.
While you could consider Butler the MVP of this game, Gibson was the runner-up; his hustle on the boards kept the Timberwolves from being down double digits.
Too Many Turnovers
The Clippers’ 17 turnovers killed them in this game. It seemed like the Clippers were never able to get a good lead, because they kept turning over the ball during the fast break. Here’s a missed opportunity to take the tie, that resulted in a 4 point deficit.
Here’s another fast break gone wrong that resulted in 2 Minnesota points.
In fact, the Clippers only had 2 fast break points because of their inability to convert off of any turnovers. If the Clippers had converted on any of these possessions, then there’s a good chance that Butler’s heroics wouldn’t have mattered.
The Final Clip: While this loss stings, it’s not one Clipper fans should feel bad about. LA gets another crack against the Wolves at home Wednesday.