The LA Clippers come into this game off a disastrous outing against the Dallas Mavericks as Kawhi Leonard sat out due to an injury he suffered in the LA Clippers’ victory over the Denver Nuggets. The Minnesota Timberwolves, on the other hand, were routed by the defending champion LA Lakers in a 127-91 victory that came after they opened the season with back-to-back wins.
Best Starting 5 between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the LA Clippers
The Minnesota Timberwolves have quite a few stars missing, and the LA Clippers are going in to their second game without the presence of Kawhi Leonard. Overall, the LA Clippers will be hoping to have an easy night out and post their third victory of the season. However, a lot depends upon whether Paul George can come up with a better showing and take up the offensive mantle.
We look at the best combined starting 5 between LA Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves, excluding the players who are confirmed to be missing the game or are doubtful.
Point Guard – Malik Beasley (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Malik Beasley is coming off his best season in the NBA despite the Minnesota Timberwolves’ poor showing last time around. This time, the Timberwolves are looking to make a genuine push for the playoffs, although for now they have to contend with injuries to multiple starters.
In the 2019-20 NBA season, Malik Beasley averaged 20.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Although the Minnesota Timberwolves’ start to the season has been rocky, Malik Beasley has looked solid and will be expected to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves against a LA Clippers squad that looked clueless themselves last time around.
Shooting Guard – D’Angelo Russell (Minnesota Timberwolves)
With Karl-Anthony Townes out of the equation for the game against the LA Clippers, all eyes will be on D’Angelo Russell. Whether the one time All-Star can take up the scoring burden will to a great extent decide whether the Minnesota Timberwolves can keep up with the LA Clippers, a team that is again expected to compete for the NBA championship.
D’Angelo Russell has had a tough time in the absence of KAT, and oppositions have swarmed Russell in his absence to make his job even more difficult. The LA Clippers are expected to provide a similar test for a weakened Minnesota Timberwolves lineup.
Shooting Forward – Paul George (LA Clippers)
Six-time All-Star Paul George will be expected to deliver in the absence of Kawhi Leonard, and will be the main ball handler for the LA Clippers against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Paul George had a poor showing in the LA Clippers’ game against the Dallas Mavericks.
George was swarmed by defenders and could not stamp his authority on the game throughout the night as the LA Clippers were found wanting in their passing and tempo. Paul George is coming off a decent season where he averaged 20 points, 2.8 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game.
Power Forward - Nicolas Batum (LA Clippers)
Nicolas Batum has started the season well, and will be hoping that the last game was a mere blip. The French standout is a new acquisition from the Charlotte Hornets, and will be looking to share part of the scoring burden in Kawhi Leonard’s absence.
Nicolas Batum is one of the sharpest defensive players in the NBA and his 6-foot-8 frame allows him to dominate offensive players at will. While there are enough scorers in the LA Clippers lineup to make up for the scoring in the possible absence of Kawhi Leonard, Batum will be doing the same on the other end.
Center – Serge Ibaka (LA Clippers)
Serge Ibaka has blended in seamlessly in the LA Clippers’ roster, and has a good rapport with Kawhi Leonard. The two led the Toronto Raptors to the NBA championship in 2019, and will be looking to do the same this time around for LA Clippers.
Serge Ibaka averaged a career high of 14.8 points for the Toronto Raptors, and will be sharing the defensive workload as well. Overall, Serge Ibaka might end up being the key player Tuesday night, especially in the case their star ends up missing the game.Published 29 Dec 2020, 23:45 IST