Player grades from Minnesota Timberwolves’ loss to Clippers

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 13: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers shoots a three point basket during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 13: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers shoots a three point basket during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves staged an impressive comeback but ultimately dropped their seventh consecutive game, this time to the L.A. Clippers.

Final. 124. 77. 117. 86

The Minnesota Timberwolves entered Friday night’s showdown with the L.A. Clippers on a six-game losing streak. And through three quarters, it appeared as though the Wolves would be unceremoniously blown out once again.

But the Wolves staged a furious fourth-quarter comeback, genuinely competing on both ends of the floor and drawing as close as four points before ultimately running out of time.

This game was dominated by stars on both sides, as the Clippers got 88 of their 124 points, or 70.9 percent, from Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The Wolves received 72 of their 117 points, or 61.5 percent, from Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Add in Jeff Teague‘s 22 points, and the trio scored 84.6 percent of the Wolves’ points.

The Wolves fell behind by double digits early in the first quarter but their bench initiated a late run to pull within a 33-29 margin at the end of the opening frame. The deficit expanded slightly to seven by halftime.

But the third quarter belonged entirely to the Clippers, who built a 20 points heading into the fourth quarter, and managed to get it all the way up to 26 before the Wolves finally decided to push back.

Minnesota used an 18-point fourth quarter from Towns to climb back into things, including three 3-pointers and a 4-point play at the 4:55 mark that pulled the Wolves to within 111-105. They got within four points with just over a minute to play, but an offensive rebound and a pair of free throws from Leonard all but sealed things.

Once again, defensive lapses and poor perimeter shooting put the Wolves in a hole, but they were able to make a game of things before ultimately falling.

Player Grades

A-. Towns had great first and fourth quarters but struggled with foul trouble in between, which not-so-coincidentally when the Wolves fell behind by 26 points. Towns finished with a season-high 39 points (12-22 FG, 5-10 3P, 10-13 FT), 12 rebounds, three assists, and two steals, but it was simply too little, too late. For what it’s worth, he also finished with a plus-minus of +3.. Center. Minnesota Timberwolves. KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS

Minnesota Timberwolves. ANDREW WIGGINS. B. Wiggins was fine, hitting a couple of big shots in the paint and a huge 3-pointer that drew the Wolves closer in the final stages of the game. Overall, he had 34 points (12-20 FG, 2-7 3P, 8-8 FT), three rebounds, two assists, and one steal to four turnovers as he struggled to contribute in any areas other than scoring.. Wing

Minnesota Timberwolves. ROBERT COVINGTON. B-. Covington struggled from beyond the arc and he was just okay in attempting to slow down the dynamic duo of Leonard and George on the other end of the floor. He finished with 10 points and shot just 2-of-8 from beyond the arc, adding five rebounds and two steals.. Forward

D. Another game, another series of struggles for <a rel=. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. JARRETT CULVER

JOSH OKOGIE. B-. Okogie wasn’t much better than Culver, although he was entrusted with 31 minutes and played decent defense against the Clippers’ dangerous backcourt. Okogie finished with six points on 2-of-7 shooting.. Guard/Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves

This was yet another great performance from Teague. Jeff ended up with 22 points (6-9 FG, 0-2 3P, 10-11 FT), five assists, and four rebounds. He played 33 minutes off the bench and was fantastic on both ends of the floor, capitalizing on the absence of <a rel=. Point Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. JEFF TEAGUE. A

Other Players

The Wolves didn’t get much at all from anyone outside the top six guys in the rotation.

Gorgui Dieng had five points on 2-of-5 shooting with five rebounds in 12 minutes. Jordan Bell had one point in 11 minutes, and Keita Bates-Diop was scoreless in the same amount of playing time.

Shabazz Napier played 14 minutes and was 0-for-3 from the floor, although he did contribute three assists and a steal and had a nice first-half stint. Treveon Graham was scoreless in just three minutes.

Up Next

The Wolves stay at home for the next few days and have a much-needed break before hosting the struggling New Orleans Pelicans next Wednesday.