Minnesota Timberwolves: 3 things to continue and 3 things to change in Clippers rematch

Paul George of the LA Clippers had a huge night against the Minnesota Timberwolves last time out. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
Paul George of the LA Clippers had a huge night against the Minnesota Timberwolves last time out. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns
Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

What didn’t work for the Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns around the basket

Towns had his least efficient game of the season, in large part because the Clippers keyed in on him below the free throw line.

Towns still managed 18 points, 11 rebounds and four steals, so he did a good job of staying productive. However, 6-of-16 shooting is a tough pill for Minnesota to swallow with limited offensive firepower.

The superstar big man was 3-of-8 on both 2-point and 3-point attempts, which is more concerning inside the arc. The Clippers surrounded Towns with bodies when he had the ball in or around the paint, and bodied him up well when he was in close scoring proximity.

The solution is partially on Towns and partially on the Wolves. Some of these shots were absolutely makeable, and he’d admit that himself. But there are also ways Chris Finch can get him some easier looks in the paint; perhaps he could put him in more pick-and-roll dives with Edwards, or have Towns man the high post more often when the Clippers go to zone.

What did work for the Minnesota Timberwolves: Malik Beasley busting zones

Aside from perhaps Russell, Beasley has had the ugliest on-court start to the season among the Wolves’ major rotation pieces. After averaging around 20 points on about 40 percent 3-point shooting to start his Timberwolves tenure, Beasley is down to 9.9 points per game on 36 percent from the field and 35 percent from three this season.

He wasn’t perfect by any means against the Clippers, but he did make four of his eight 3-point attempts, including a few to punish the Clippers for going to that 2-3 zone.

Minnesota has struggled against the zone all season because it has settled for threes and hasn’t made them. Beasley and Towns are the two Wolves who have shown they can be the kind of knockdown shooters off the catch that hurt zone defenses. Our own Ben Beecken suggests that Beasley should join the starting lineup with Russell on the sidelines.

Next. With Russell out, Beasley should be starting. dark

If Finch matches Beasley with all the opposing zone minutes tonight, Beasley will have a chance to put up big numbers and dissuade teams from thinking they can stymie Minnesota with that approach.