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Clippers Breeze Past Timberwolves
March 26, 2019

In a game lacking artistry and cohesion, the Los Angeles Clippers blundered their way to a 122-111 win over the shorthanded and defenseless Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center.

The Wolves under neophyte coach Ryan Saunders are having trouble assembling anything that resembles an NBA active roster. Previously unknown names of Jared Terrell, Cameron Reynolds, Jerryd Bayliss, C.J. Williams, and Keita Bates-Diop dot the lineup, confusing audience members (announced at 13,176) who remember what the team looked like when the 2018-19 season kicked off.

The fact is that both that team and the present one display the annoying trait of playing poor defense. Squad members on defense repeatedly are unable or unwilling to use either their hands or their feet and are picked off by the simplest of screening techniques. Somewhere along the line, these goofs forgot or were never taught basic high school defense, and Saunders is not the guy to teach them.

The Clippers game resembled an AAU scrimmage without coaches. A three-point basket by Patrick Beverly gave Los Angeles a 26-15 first quarter lead, and the Timberwolves dissolved. At quarter’s end, it was Clippers 42, Wolves 23. The sound of crickets was heard throughout Target Center.

The home team’s only offense was supplied by Andrew Wiggins with nine points, but he soon lost interest along with his teammates. All-star center Karl-Anthony Towns moved as if in a trance and did not snap to attention until the second half.

The Clippers led at halftime 75-55 and would have increased that lead if Beverly had not left the game with a hip pointer injury in the third period. The team’s spark left with Beverley, and Los Angeles allowed Minnesota to creep back to within six points on a Towns basket, but by this time, the crowd was beyond caring and barely noticed.

The Clippers did take notice, and soon it was an 18-point lead on a Montez Harrell layup. Minnesota gently capitulated, and Los Angeles used the win to cinch a playoff berth. It was only a year ago that Minnesota was fighting to enter the playoffs. That seems like a long time ago. Owner Glen Taylor now faces another string of empty seasons unless he can find a coach like the Clippers’ Doc Rivers who manages to get a lot from a little by relying on defense.

Danillio Gallinari, a thorn in the Wolves’ side all night, led all scorers with 25 points. Towns had 24 for Minnesota.

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