Los Angeles Clippers returned to play with the public at the Staples Center more than a year after the last time, and they celebrated with a comfortable victory. Very loose. More than the marker indicates. Because the final 19 points of difference is the typical makeup operation, in this case starring the Minnesota Timberwolves backups, who won the fourth quarter well against their peers on the Clippers. Until then the beating was vintage, with advantages for the locals who reached 38 points.
A very competitive match between the third and the last of the West was not expected. And less with Kawhi Leonard back after missing four games for foot problems. The star of the team returned to a great level, with 15 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists. Together with him, all headlines ended in double digits: George 23, Morris 19 and Jackson and Zubac 13. And all of them with +/- from +25 up. And that the first quarter ended 29-26 and, at that moment, nothing made us wait for what was to come.
A tsunami of game and points washed away the Wolves, who were to lose the next two quarters by a difference of 32 points. The Clippers, very successful in the triple (scored 21) they began to make a difference from the perimeter and they finished confirming it by closing the rebound (9 more in defense) against a team that stayed at 40.9% in field goals. Neither Towns, nor Russell, nor Edwards, nor Ricky exceeded that number. The Spanish could hardly shine, beyond the 5 assists he distributed. Nor was it the day of Juancho Hernangómez, who in 18 minutes on the track only made one shot. The Wolves sign their fourth consecutive loss away from home, where they are 5-24.
The Clippers remain in a third place in which they have been in relative comfort for weeks, waiting for both Utah and Phoenix to give them a chance to qualify for higher heights, while they see the injuries in the Nuggets and the Lakers take pressure off their pursuers. The Clippers are not being talked about by far what was talked about last season, when they put Kawhi and George together. A somewhat disappointing game over the course and a blushing loss of playoffs after losing a 3-1 lead to Denver has taken something out of the media spotlight. We don’t know if that’s why but the team is much better than a year ago. Life takes many turns, but this time they do give the profile, by game and by sensations, of a team capable of fighting for everything.