Los Angeles Clippers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Pick & Prediction MARCH 12th 2024

The Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves hope to have some stars back on the floor when they meet in a key late-season showdown Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Anybody with the time, and plenty of cash for tickets, could have scouted both depleted teams Sunday in downtown Los Angeles when the Clippers dropped a 124-117 afternoon decision to the Milwaukee Bucks and the Timberwolves fell 120-109 to the Los Angeles Lakers in the same building later that night.

The Clippers hope to be whole again after both Kawhi Leonard (groin) and Paul George (knee) did not play against the Bucks. The game started 22 hours after the Clippers’ contest Saturday against the Chicago Bulls, when factoring in the time change.

Despite being short-handed against the Bucks, the Clippers led by as many as seven in the first half and were up 62-59 at halftime. But they were outscored 32-23 in a decisive third quarter.

Norman Powell had 26 points off the bench in the defeat, with Amir Coffey and P.J. Tucker getting starts and combining for 23 points and 16 rebounds. Bones Hyland continues to get more time with Russell Westbrook (hand) out for an extended period, scoring 12 points with five assists. Brandon Boston Jr. offered five points and five rebounds.

“Just seeing our young guys getting opportunities, Bones and Brandon playing well, P.J. starting, bringing that physicality, I thought he played well as well,” Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue said. “Just getting different looks, just seeing different players as we go into the playoffs, it was good to see our young guys get on the floor and get a chance to play in a big game like this, and hopefully we can build from that.”

The Timberwolves also were short-handed, playing without Karl-Anthony Towns (knee) for the third consecutive game of an extended absence. Also out was Rudy Gobert (hamstring), who might be able to return by Tuesday.

Like the Clippers, the Timberwolves were competitive Sunday, leading 92-91 through three quarters. But the Lakers opened the fourth quarter on a 16-2 run and an extended 21-4 burst to take control.

“We got off to a slow start offensively in both the third and fourth quarter,” Minnesota head coach Chris Finch said. “I felt confident we would come back but with so many second-shots (for the Lakers), it’s difficult at that point.”

Without either of their big men, the Wolves watched the Lakers’ Anthony Davis score 27 points with 25 rebounds. Davis had 10 offensive rebounds.

“He should have dominated us. He had size, he had length, he had all that stuff,” Finch said. “He was in the paint seven, eight seconds every time they shot the ball.”

Naz Reid and Anthony Edwards each scored 25 points for Minnesota, whose defensive deficiencies were further evident by the Lakers’ 53.0 percent shooting, while getting clobbered 56-38 in the rebounding battle.

Minnesota has dropped four of its past six games and is 1-2 to start a six-game road trip.

It is the last regular-season meeting of the season between the Clippers and Timberwolves with Minnesota holding a 2-1 advantage. The Clippers won the last meeting 89-88 on March 3 at Minnesota.

–Field Level Media

Docsports, The most trusted name in sports handicapping