NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, February 28th (All times eastern)
Minnesota Timberwolves (17-17) at Los Angeles Clippers (20-11), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Fresh off his Three-Point Shootout win, All-Star Kevin Love will return home for the first of a two-day tour of Staples Center as he leads his Timberwolves against the first-place Clippers.
Love, a Southern California native who starred at UCLA in college, and his teammates will stay in town after tonight's contest and also square off against the second-place Lakers on Wednesday.
K-Love is coming off a second-straight All-Star appearance headlined by his shootout win over the weekend. The double-double machine has the Wolves at .500 and fighting for one of the final spots in the Western Conference playoff picture.
Minnesota, which is opening up a four-game road trip tonight, entered the break with an exciting 100-98 win over Utah in the Twin Cities last Wednesday.
Luke Ridnour finished with 17 points, none bigger than his floater at the final buzzer, lifting the Timberwolves to the win in that one.
With seven ticks on the clock, Minnesota inbounded the ball to J.J. Barea, who dished it back to Ridnour. Ridnour split the defense at the top of the key and let go of a floater from the foul line that hit nothing but nylon to complete an 18-point rally for the Timberwolves.
Five Minnesota players finished in double figures, led by 22 off the bench from Barea. Nikola Pekovic added 15 and Derrick Williams netted 13 points to help Minnesota reach the .500 mark at the All-Star break. Love had a bit of an off-night, recording 10 points and 10 boards.
"I don't think I would have believed it," said Love of the comeback. "It just shows you that it takes a collective unit to win on most nights. We're a legit team who can bring it together and we needed everyone to step up."
The Clippers, meanwhile, entered the break 1 1/2 games ahead of the Lakers in the Pacific Division, after a 103-95 win over Denver on Wednesday of last week.
All-Star Chris Paul had a season-high 36 points to go along with nine assists as the Clips pulled away in the fourth quarter of that one. Fellow All-Star Blake Griffin added 27 points, 12 rebounds and five assists for the Clippers, who snapped a two-game losing streak.
"We wanted to get that bad taste out of our mouth from dropping the last two [games]," said Griffin. "We did a good job defensively in the fourth quarter. We wanted to go into the break on the right foot."
The Wolves stopped a three-game skid to the Clippers with a 101-98 win in LA back on Jan. 20 but both Paul and Caron Butler missed that game with injuries.
02/28 10:29:26 ET