Clippers rally but fade down the stretch against Timberwolves

Clippers rally but fade down the stretch against Timberwolves”

Jimmy Butler saw that and instead of laughing it off, he blared out a "What the fuck was that?"

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Taj Gibson, center, tries to intercept a pass intended for Los Angeles Clippers guard Austin Rivers, left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, in Los Angeles. "He will do what the game calls for depending on what's going on in the game".

As a result, Minnesota is 15-11 on the young season and sitting in fourth place in the Western Conference, while Los Angeles has lost four in a row and dropped to 8-15 and further out of the playoff picture.

Let's take a look at a key for each team as well as the player to watch in this one. The third-year big man has been in a bit of a slump recently, but much like the rest of the Timberwolves he's much too good to be held down for too long.

The Clippers couldn't match Minnesota's depth, who could turn to Towns, Butler, Andrew Wiggins or Taj Gibson on any given possession.

The Clippers surged in the fourth quarter, drawing within 103-100, but faded down the stretch.

Minnesota G Jamal Crawford, who played five seasons with the Clippers, received a first-quarter video tribute and then went out and scored 11 points against his former team. "I mean, we got a starter back, so there are two of us now".

With Gibson-who finished with 16 points and 14 boards-and Towns doing work in the paint, Wiggins and Butler had a number of openings to exploit from mid-range or when attacking the basket.

Danilo Gallinari returned for Los Angeles and scored seven points on 2-for-13 shooting. Gallinari shifted from small forward to power forward, replacing Griffin. But I wasn't, so I'll be better next game.

Gallinari has missed the last 13 games while recovering from a strained left glute, last playing in a game November 5 against the Miami Heat. He shot a disappointing 35.5 percent, including 26 percent from 3-point range, in nine games before he was sidelined. Patrick Beverley is out for the season. Milos Teodosic is close to being ready to return, but not there just yet.

There hasn't been any detail yet on if Gallinari will have a minute restriction, but expect the team to be a little cautious with him. DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers never led and had no answer for Minnesota's balanced offensive attack.

It was a step in the right direction.

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