Timberwolves-Clippers Preview

Success from beyond the arc tends to have the Los Angeles

Clippers feeling rather merry.

A meeting with the Minnesota Timberwolves may just keep it that

way heading into Christmas.

The Clippers look to build on another impressive performance

from long range as they attempt to beat the Timberwolves for the

eighth straight time Sunday night.

Los Angeles (19-9) is shooting 33.7 percent from 3-point range

on the season, but has made 41.5 percent while averaging 112.0

points during a season high-tying four-game winning streak. The

Clippers, who face Golden State on Christmas, have connected on at

least 11 3s in each of the past three contests, including 13 while

cruising to Saturday’s 112-91 win over Denver.

They’re 21-2 since the start of last season when they make at

least 11 from long range and are 8-0 in such games in 2013-14. They

hit 12 in a 102-98 win at Minnesota on Nov. 20, extending their

winning streak in the series to seven games.

Jamal Crawford came up big from long range Saturday, making 6 of

12 while scoring 27 points. He had 17 in each of the previous three

games, while going 5 for 19 on 3s.

Matt Barnes is also looking to do his part after scoring 13

points against the Nuggets after missing 16 while recovering from

three procedures to repair a torn retina in his eye. The forward is

wearing protective goggles, but isn’t enjoying the experience.

“I feel good,” Barnes said after going 3 for 7 from beyond the

arc. “I got elbowed and the goggles gave me a bruise. I don’t see

myself wearing them long.”

Blake Griffin is averaging 24.0 points and 11.7 rebounds over

the past three games. The forward has totaled 45 points and 20

rebounds in the two wins over the Timberwolves (13-14) this

season.

He led the Clippers with 25 points in a 109-107 victory at home

Nov. 11, winning against Minnesota there for the seventh time in

nine tries and third in a row.

The Timberwolves have dropped nine of 12 on the road, but

they’re alternated wins and losses over their last six overall.

They’ll look for that to continue after falling 104-91 on the road

to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

“No energy. We have to be better than that,” coach Rick Adelman

said. “They outworked us all night long. It was a poor game on our

part.”

Minnesota will likely need to also show some improvement from

the field after shooting 34.7 percent – 5 for 22 from beyond the

arc – against the Lakers.

Kevin Love continues to do his part, averaging 30.6 points and

13.0 rebounds while hitting 47.6 percent from long range over the

past five games. However, he scored 20 of his 25 points in the

first half Friday and was held scoreless in the fourth quarter.

The forward had 23 points and 19 boards with seven assists

against the Clippers on Nov. 11. He wasn’t nearly as effective at

home nine days later, going 2 for 14 from the floor to finish with

a season-low 10 points to go with 12 rebounds and eight

assists.

Kevin Martin had 28 points and 10 boards in that meeting after

scoring 30 at Staples Center on Nov. 11. The guard struggled from

the floor there Friday, making 6 of 16 attempts while getting 14

points.