Play preview | Minnesota (7) – L.A. Clippers (8)

The Clippers have grown accustomed their fans to harboring big ambitions since the arrival of the George-Leonard duo in the summer of 2019. But their repeated injuries were met with frustration in the play-offs, in between the stunning loss to the Nuggets. in the Orlando’s “bubble”. in 2020 (4-3 after leading 3-1 in the conference semifinals) and lost the conference final to the Suns without Kawhi Leonardaffected in the knee, in 2021.

This 2021/22 fiscal year was again accompanied by some of the injuries as Kawhi Leonard’s white season quickly added a long recovery from Paul George, hit in the elbow.

Despite these circumstances, Tyronn Lue’s men managed to get through and qualify for the Play-in in a conference that was less competitive than in the past. The return of Paul George in extremis shuffled the cards and gave some momentum to the Clippers, who finished in 8th place. They will have to perform an “upset” to try and take their place in the playoffs on the floor of long-toothed Wolves.

For Minnesota, it was somewhat the opposite pattern that has occurred since Chris Finch’s troops navigated uncertainty for a long time after a 2020/21 season finished in 13th place in the West. The first two months were difficult and at the beginning of 2022 (16v-20d) the results were still negative. And then the click was there.

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D’Angelo Russell found colors to support a Karl Anthony Towns on his part blameless, and Anthony Edwards confirmed his status as the future star of the league by giving these wolves a much stronger face, with the help of “role players”, enhanced by the arrival of Pat Beverley.

The fate of these two franchises, therefore, will be decided in this first game, with an advantage for Minnesota at home and fully developing, before a possible second shock comes in handy for the loser of this showdown.


Holders: D. Russell, P. Beverley, A. Edwards, J. Vanderbilt, K. Towns.
The replacements: J. McLaughlin, L. Bolmaro, J. Nowell, M. Beasley, N. Knight, J. Okogie, J. Layman, T. Prince, J. McDaniels, N. Reid, G. Monroe.
No absentees
the coach: C.Finch.

Extended on Monday, Chris Finch has found the right formula since early 2022, allowing Karl-Anthony Towns to “rest” on two lieutenants, D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards.

The group will present itself in full and with a bench likely to weigh in on this first match, between the sniper Malik Beasley, the defending pair of Okogie-Prince or the hyperactive Naz Reid. To see the option that the Wolves coach will choose between a Russell-Beverley double or a pure leader accompanied by Malik Beasley and Anthony Edwards in the outer positions, as he has at times this season, to achieve a more “natural rotation with a Pat Beverley coming off the bench to boost the “second unit” and the Nowell-Okogie-Prince trio to secure the 2-3 positions.

The strong point

Karl Anthony Towns† The Wolves pivot hasn’t given up and continues to display an array of stats that are the closest to his career. What has changed the situation is that he is now better surrounded and above all more regular. He acts like a leader and remains the biggest threat. He could also take advantage of a little rotation on Pole 5 on the Clippers side to dominate.

The weak point

irregularity† What we could also call the enthusiasm of the youth for this group whose average does not exceed 25 years. This is what makes this first encounter so precarious, as Wolves have shown that they are capable of the best and the worst, especially towards the end of the regular season. At this point, the impact of D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards will be decisive as it is at their level that Karl-Anthony Towns will also be dependent on opportunities. The game can open completely, or vice versa, the trap can close on him when his little comrades are not there. Regularity is the next step shown for this Minnesota team in this setup.


Holders: R. Jackson, P. George, M. Morris Sr., N. Batum, I. Zubac.
The replacements: T. Mann, R. Hood, L. Kennard (uncertain – hamstrings), R. Covington, A. Coffey, N. Powell, I. Hartenstein.
the absent : K. Leonard.
the coach: T.Lue.

The Clippers have had an exemplary season given the setbacks they’ve faced, and Tyronn Lue has a lot to do with it. Since the playoffs, the California coach has managed to instill in his group a “command” frame of mind, which has reinvented itself to remain competitive.

The return of Paul George and Norman Powell in the wake boosted the morale of the troops. As it stands, this team can clearly afford Wolves’ scalps in Minnesota, with the Jackson-Mann-Covington trio in particular as potential X-factors.

The strong point

Two returns that matter† Paul George’s final appearance with 23 points, 7 rebounds and 12 assists in three quarters confirmed he was at his best. The All-Star back/winger stood out in particular with a beautiful exterior address, a sign that he no longer has pain in his elbow. In addition to him, Norman Powell’s return also gives Tyronn Lue more leeway, as he has a true offensive leader off the bench. Two boosts that could give wings to a group that has fought hard all season to ensure its presence in the top 10.

The weak point

A limited racket† With a pair of Morris-Batum 3-4 positions to secure the “stretch four” position (or even Robert Covington) and a Zubac-Harteinstein double to manage position 5, the Clippers can expect to be the target in this sector of the game, with Karl-Anthony Towns as the biggest threat.


Anthony Edwards† Featuring Josh Okogie, Taurean Prince and even Pat Beverley, the sophomore will be tasked with defending Public Enemy No. 1, Paul George, author of a comforting return to five games at the end of the regular season. Defending against such a player for his first-ever postseason game of his career is the kind of challenge that should motivate him. However, it is difficult to know how he will react in this new environment, with more pressure, knowing that he also still has irregularities in attack. But if it’s the Anthony Edwards of the good days, the mission promises to get complicated for the Clippers.


LA Clippers 3-1

Nov 3: Minnesota – L.A. Clippers (115-126)
Nov 5: Minnesota – LA Clippers (84-104)
Nov 14: LA Clippers -Minnesota (129-102)
January 3: LA Clippers – Minnesota (104-122)


MINNESOTA. The atmosphere promises to be warm in Minneapolis, which has only played two playoffs in the past 17 seasons. This is undoubtedly a key element in this very balanced opposition. The Clippers are obviously on track for Paul George’s return, but the Wolves, who have long flirted with sixth place, have their fate in their hands. Especially since the winner will challenge the impressive but very young Grizzlies in the first round, while the loser will then have to fight to challenge the Suns, the defending finalists and more impressive than ever.


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