The LA Clippers have returned home after a three-game road trip, and will be welcoming the Minnesota TImberwolves to Staples Center on Sunday night at 7 p.m.
For LA, the good news is that Kawhi Leonard has been listed as “questionable” to play in the matchup after missing his last three contests due to a sore right foot (technically four contests, though the first was labeled a “rest” day). Though Leonard was also listed as questionable for Friday’s game against the Sixers and ended up not playing, it is a positive sign to see that he’s trending towards a return. Other than Leonard and the long-term injuries of Patrick Beverley (fractured hand) and Serge Ibaka (lower back tightness), the Clippers will be healthy heading into Sunday night’s game.
For Minnesota, Jaylen Nowell has been listed as doubtful with a right tibia contusion, and Malik Beasley remains out with a left hamstring injury. D’Angelo Russell returned from knee surgery seven games ago after missing two months of action, but Head Coach Chris Finch has been bringing him off the bench in favor of Ricky Rubio since Russell resumed play.
The Clippers’ no.1 concern should be Karl-Anthony Towns, as usual. Clippers center Ivica Zubac had quite a bit of trouble dealing with 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid on Friday night, getting into foul trouble early and allowing the big man to dominate him in the post. While Towns is not quite the physical force that Embiid is, he’s still extremely skilled, both in the post and out on the perimeter. Towns is one of the best jump-shooting centers in the NBA, hitting 40.2% of his threes on 5.8 attempts per game. Zubac will be stretched out to the perimeter, so look for Head Coach Tyronn Lue to go small at times with Marcus Morris Sr., Nicolas Batum or Patrick Patterson at center.
Paul George is currently on a streak of five straight 30-point performances. Minnesota will no-doubt give him the opportunity to continue that streak, as they hold the league’s third-worst defensive rating. If George once again goes off and LA can do a decent job of slowing down Towns, they should have no problem walking away with a victory against the no.14 seeded Wolves.
How to Watch
Matchup: LA Clippers (39-18) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (15-42)
Date: Sunday, April 18
Time: 7:00 p.m. PST
Venue: Staples Center
Broadcast: NBA TV
Spread: Clippers -10
Moneyline: Clippers -460, Timberwolves +360
Point Total: O/U 231
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook