Two teams in contention for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference will tussle in Minnesota today as the 31-26 Los Angeles Clippers visit the 25-30 Minnesota Timberwolves (8 p.m. ET Monday).
The Clippers made a big splash at the trade deadline and won their first game as a new roster in Boston against the Celtics after a huge comeback. Overall, the team has been playing just OK over the past couple weeks, but that’s been enough for it to hold onto the West’s No. 8 seed.
Minnesota has now lost four games in a row and could use a win at home against Los Angeles to stay relevant in the playoff hunt. If the Wolves lose today, it will deal a major blow to their already slim playoff chances.
Let’s break down the elements that will affect this matchup. After we do that, we’ll check on the betting lines and decide how you should invest your money on this game with our LA Clippers vs Minnesota Timberwolves predictions and picks.
Will the Clippers’ Newcomers Continue to Gel?
No team in the NBA has changed its roster more in the last week than the Clippers. Los Angeles ultimately shipped out Tobias Harris, Mike Scott, Boban Marjanovic, Mike Muscala, Avery Bradley and waived Marcin Gortat and Milos Teodosic. In return, the Clippers got Landry Shamet, Wilson Chandler, JaMychal Green, Garrett Temple, Ivica Zubac, Michael Beasley and some draft picks that the Philadelphia 76ers owned.
In summary, the moves were mostly made for future purposes. The Clippers are focused on rebuilding with star free agents this summer, along with young prospects and their upcoming draft picks.
However, Los Angeles’ new-look roster was fantastic in Boston in its first game together. The Clippers came back from a 28-point deficit to win by 11 and got a combined 41 points on great efficiency from Shamet, Temple and Zubac.
That’s a great start for the newcomers in terms of morale and chemistry. Let’s see if they can keep their momentum going or if it will take more time to develop consistency together.
Will Timberwolves Hit More Threes Than Clippers?
The Timberwolves are one of the least explosive teams in the league at shooting from the outside. Minnesota is 25th in three-point rate and 16th in three-point percentage. With Robert Covington out, Tyus Jones doubtful and Jerryd Bayless and Derrick Rose questionable against Los Angeles, the team has a lot of its shooting punch on the sidelines.
Unfortunately, shooting has been a major X-factor for the Wolves this season. When they drain more three-pointers than their opponent, they have a 12-3 record. That record is 13-27 in all other circumstances.
Even with its missing personnel, the Wolves need to find a way to scrounge around for some three-point scoring. Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Dario Saric and Isaiah Canaan all need to be shooting consistently in this game, despite the inconsistency they have shown in the past.
Will Karl-Anthony Towns Change Complexion of Game With Rebounding?
Sometimes, teams can reverse the fortunes of the game with pure hustle. The opponent may be getting better shots and even converting more of them, but if a team can win the rebounding battle significantly, it can nullify a variety of other advantages.
That is exactly what the Timberwolves need to do in this game and it starts with Towns. The Wolves center is an elite rebounder who averages 12.1 boards per game. When he has 13 or more rebounds, his team is 13-5. When he has eight or fewer rebounds, the Timberwolves have a 1-11 record.
The Clippers are one of the league’s weaker rebounding teams, as they rank 22nd or worse in both offensive and defensive rebound percentage. They don’t have a center with the combination of size, skill and athleticism who even nearly matches up with Towns. Can the young star take advantage?
Our Preview’s LA Clippers vs Minnesota Timberwolves Predictions & Betting Picks
I think the Timberwolves’ complete lack of outside punch will doom them in this game. Also, in terms of emotions, Minnesota is gradually feeling the playoffs slip out of their reach, while the Clippers have fresh blood in the rotation that just keyed a massive win in Boston over the weekend.
Karl-Anthony Towns will do some damage on the glass, but I don’t see his teammates scoring enough here to match the Clippers and their depth. Expect Los Angeles to win a relatively low-scoring game. These are our Clippers vs Wolves predictions against the USA betting sites:
- At the time of writing only one sportsbook is offering odds on this NBA game and Minnesota is favorite by 4.5 points. This preview recommends a wager on the Clippers +4.5pts on the spread @ -115 with 5Dimes.
- Both teams are better on offense than defense, but I think the Wolves’ rebounding edge as well as their lack of available scoring punch will make this somewhat low scoring. Put your money on the under 222.5 total points @ -115 with 5Dimes.