Preview: L.A. Clippers at Wolves

  • January 29, 2013 - 10:58 PM

Preview: The Wolves, who have lost four consecutive and nine of their past 10, start a crucial six-game homestand. The first five games are against Western Conference foes, and four of those teams, including the Clippers, are ahead of the Wolves in the conference standings. ... The Clippers played their fourth game in a row without All-Star guard Chris Paul (bruised knee) Sunday, but managed to end a four-game losing streak with a 96-83 victory over the Blazers.

Players to watch: Wolves guard Ricky Rubio is coming off one of his strongest performances, a 14-point, eight-assist, five-steal game in at 102-101 loss at Charlotte on Saturday. G Luke Ridnour had a season-high 22 points against Charlotte, with seven rebounds and seven assists. ... Clippers F Blake Griffin is averaging 23.2 points, 6.8 assists and 9.0 rebounds in his past five games.

Numbers: After going 3-1 vs. the Clippers last season, the Wolves are 0-2 vs. L.A. this season: a 101-95 loss in L.A. on Nov. 28 and a 90-77 defeat at Target Center on Jan. 17. The Clippers scored 56 points in the paint against Portland on Sunday and allowed 24. The Clippers also limited the Blazers to four second-chance points, a season low for L.A. opponents. Even without Paul, the Clippers matched a season high with 33 assists.

Injuries: Wolves F Kevin Love (hand surgery), F Chase Budinger (knee surgery), G Malcolm Lee (hip and knee surgery) and G Brandon Roy (right knee) are out. C Nikola Pekovic (right thigh contusion) and G Alexey Shved (left ankle) are listed as questionable but both said after Tuesday's practice that they expected to play. Clippers guard Chauncey Billups (left foot), and F Trey Thompkins (left knee) are out. G Chris Paul (bruised knee) is questionable.


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