BY DANNY CUNNINGHAM
The Wolves dropped to the Clippers on Monday night in Los Angeles. Jimmy Butler was active, but didn’t do much until the fourth quarter. The Wolves may have been competitive longer than expected, but it never felt like the game was really within reach in the second half, even as the deficit was cut to three at one point.
Karl-Anthony Towns could have had a monster night against the Clippers, but he didn’t. The Clippers decided to use Boban Marjanovic on Taj Gibson defensively with Danillo Gallinari matched up with Towns. The Clippers were in a bind due to the fact that Towns has the ability to both play inside and outside. Gallinari is much more suited to move out of the paint with Towns, but should have been no match for him near the basket. The reverse could be said of Marjanovic. He would be much more suited near the basket and a nightmare outside the paint.
This should have led to a big night for Towns. He started with a strong first quarter with 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting. The issue at hand was that his first post-touch against Gallinari didn’t come until the 3:40 mark in the period. That’s something that should have been much earlier with that matchup.
Towns didn’t finish the game as strong as he started it, but taking advantage of this matchup is something that should have been done and certainly could have changed the outcome.
Dane Moore wrote for 1500 ESPN on Monday about a number of things in his Monday column, and one of them was the evolution of Andrew Wiggins’ shot selection. So far this season Wiggins is averaging exactly three shots per game between 16 feet and the 3-point line. That number is slightly down from 3.18 in ‘17-’18.
Wiggins had a tough night shooting overall, finishing 4-of-16 for 13 points. He took five shots from between 15 feet and the 3-point line, making only one of them. Teams will live with giving that shot up to Wiggins on a regular basis, especially when he’s having a rough shooting night like he did against LA.
Having to play a back-to-back on the road is always tough, and for some reason it feels as if the back-to-back teams have to play with Portland and LA seems to be one of the tougher ones. For instance, the Lakers had to play in Portland on Saturday night and then at home against Toronto on Sunday. Sure, the second leg of that is a home game for LeBron James & Co., but it proved to be a difficult one for them, as well.
The challenge doesn’t get much easier for the Wolves now as they’ll stick in Los Angeles until Wednesday’s matchup with the Lakers. As it’s well known throughout the NBA, “LA nightlife is undefeated,” and the Wolves spending two nights in that city could prove to be a distraction for a team that’s been dealing with nothing but that since before training camp.