The Timberwolves are coming off a 108-103 loss against the LA Lakers. It was their fifth loss in six games and third in a row. Meanwhile, the Clippers returned to winning ways with an impressive 120-116 win over the Brooklyn Nets on the road.
Fixture: Minnesota Timberwolves vs LA Clippers | NBA Season 2021-22.
Date & Time: Monday, January 3rd; 10:30 PM ET (Tuesday, January 4th; 9:00 AM).
Venue: Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA.
Minnesota Timberwolves Preview
The Minnesota Timberwolves have been one of the worst affected teams because of covid recently. Anthony Edwards, Patrick Beverley and Jarred Vanderbilt have returned, but the team's two All-Stars, D'Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns, could remain sidelined for another game.
The shorthanded Timberwolves fought hard against the Lakers in their previous matchup but came up short down the stretch. Despite outrebounding their opponents 56-28 (20 offensive boards), Minnesota could only score 20 second-chance points. Chris Finch's men also recorded 23 turnovers, 20 coming in the second half alone, which proved to be the biggest reason behind their loss.
The Minnesota Timberwolves need to do a better job of capitalizing on their hustle plays and execution in clutch moments. They will have a better chance of winning against the LA Clippers, as they too could be shorthanded for this clash.
Key Player - Anthony Edwards
As one of the star players on the team, Anthony Edwards will have to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves from the start against the LA Clippers. The #1 pick from the 2020 draft was in great form before the Lakers game. He had scored 29.3 points across three appearances, but could only register 18 points on 36% shooting against Frank Vogel's team.
Edwards needs to play more aggressively to make a difference. It will also give him confidence early on if he can get off to a quick start by attacking the rim more frequently.
Minnesota Timberwolves Predicted Lineup
G - Patrick Beverley | G - Anthony Edwards | F - Malik Beasley | F - Jarred Vanderbilt | C - Naz Reid.
LA Clippers Preview
The LA Clippers played their best game of the season in their previous outing against the Nets. They were without coach Ty Lue and the likes of Paul George, Marcus Morris, Nicolas Batum and Ivica Zubac but still managed to churn out a win.
Eric Bledsoe came up big in the absence of these stars again, tallying a team-high 27 points, three steals and two blocks. He shot eight of 12 from the field and four of six from the arc, while Terance Mann and Reggie Jackson finished with 19 points apiece.
The LA Clippers used their pace and transition offense to their advantage in the absence of Ivica Zubac and Isaiah Hartenstein, the team's two bigs. Bledsoe and the crew scored 17 points off 14 Brooklyn turnovers and 21 points on the fastbreak. That could be key against the Minnesota Timberwolves as they tend to struggle on transition defense.
Key Player - Eric Bledsoe
Eric Bledsoe has shrugged off a disappointing start to his second stint with the LA Clippers in style. The guard is averaging 19.2 points per game in the last five games in which he has played over 25 minutes. Bledsoe has also been an efficient scorer and playmaker down the stretch. The Clippers will need him to continue playing like that until the rest of their stars return.
LA Clippers Predicted Lineup
G - Eric Bledsoe | G - Reggie Jackson | F - Terance Mann | F - Marcus Morris | C - Serge Ibaka.
Timberwolves vs Clippers Match Prediction
The Minnesota Timberwolves and LA Clippers seem evenly matched on paper considering their injury issues. That could see their match go right down to the wire, making it difficult to predict the outcome. The Clippers, though, have fared better in the absence of their stars and that does favor them in winning this game, but only by a slender margin.
Where to watch Timberwolves vs Clippers
Bally Sports North and Bally Sports SoCal will cover the game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and LA Clippers locally. Fans can also watch the match online on NBA League Pass.