Takeaways from the Minnesota Timberwolves big loss to the Clippers

Ricky Rubio of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Ricky Rubio of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves are struggling to play competent basketball without their star and franchise centerpiece.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have looked downright terrible since the absence of Karl-Anthony Towns – and that was no different on Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Timberwolves lost in more than convincing fashion, and there are not many bright spots to point out. The first quarter was okay, with Ricky Rubio hitting some early threes as well as Anthony Edwards starting out on fire.

Sadly, as soon as the second quarter hit, the Clippers essentially exposed the lack of off-ball defense by the Timberwolves, who switched to a zone (it did not help) shortly before halftime. By the middle of the third quarter, the game was out of reach.

Down two starters against a Western Conference heavyweight, the Timberwolves were not expected to do much, but still seemed to disappoint.

Jarrett Culver had a lackluster offensive performance after showing signs of life over the course of the first three games of the season – he went 0-8 from the field in the first half, followed by something that wasn’t much better in the second. At the very least, though, it is important to note that he was perhaps the only respectable defender from Tuesday night’s loss. He was competitive, and for a team that didn’t have anything on that end of the floor, he stood out the most.

Next. Three bold predictions for the Timberwolves in 2020-21. dark

Juan Hernangomez and Jake Layman look really, really bad. Like unplayable levels of bad – about as poor as you can be to start an NBA season. Both of those players were expected to step up this season with the lack of a starting caliber power forward on the roster, and neither has been able to do so – and waiving Rondae Hollis-Jefferson just days before the season started is beginning to look even worse than it originally did.