As Western Conference teammates, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin(notes) and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love(notes) could have a great experience this weekend at Staples Center, where they’ll make their All-Star game debuts.
It would be a nice break from what they’re experiencing with their regular teams.
The Clippers and Timberwolves meet for the final time this season Wednesday night at the Target Center, where both teams play for the final time before the break.
While Griffin and Love continue to put up double-doubles - Griffin’s 46 are second to Love’s 50 - their clubs are slumping.
Since a 14-7 stretch, the Clippers (20-35) have dropped seven of eight this month, including six of seven on an 11-game stretch away from Staples.
Los Angeles shot 37.1 percent and committed 17 turnovers in a 102-78 loss to Milwaukee on Monday.
“It’s just been tough on this road trip,” Griffin said.
It’s been especially difficult in the fourth quarter. With leading scorer Eric Gordon(notes) out the last 12 games with a sprained right wrist, the Clippers have struggled late. Since outscoring Atlanta by 11 in the final quarter of a 101-100 loss Feb. 4 to open its trip, Los Angeles has been outscored by nine or more three times in the final 12 minutes of regulation.
The Clippers trailed the Bucks by six points after three quarters before scoring 13 in the fourth.
“The fourth quarters kill us. When the game gets a little tight we don’t execute as well,” coach Vinny Del Negro said. “There is no miracle pill for it. There is no quick answer. It’s just staying together.”
The Clippers, tied with Minnesota (13-42) with a conference-low four road wins, have dropped two straight at the Target Center. They lost 113-111 on Nov. 17 in their only visit this season.
Michael Beasley(notes), who scored a team-high 33 points in that matchup and hit the winning jumper with 2.3 seconds left, is unlikely to play Wednesday due to a sprained ankle that has kept him out the past four games.
Without Beasley, Love - averaging a team-best 21.1 points and a league-high 15.4 rebounds - was unable to carry the Timberwolves past Portland on Monday. He barely extended his franchise-record double-double streak to 41 with 12 points and 11 boards in a 95-81 loss.
“I never got into a rhythm, never really got the ball,” Love said after taking a season low-tying seven shots. “Michael’s out, and if that’s the case, we’re going to have some problems.”
Minnesota, loser of 17 of 21, has shot 39.4 percent during a season-high four-game home skid. The Timberwolves last dropped five in a row in Minneapolis during a 10-game slide there Feb. 10-March 28, 2010.
Griffin, who had 26 points and 17 rebounds against the Timberwolves on Nov. 17, has averaged 25.5 points and 9.0 boards in two home wins over the Timberwolves. His franchise-record 27-game double-double streak was snapped in a 126-111 victory over Minnesota on Jan. 19, as he finished with 29 points and eight rebounds.
Los Angeles has won five of the last seven meetings.