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Wolves get powerful play-in foe with George again for Clips | Sports



MINNEAPOLIS — For all of the strides the Minnesota Timberwolves made this season on each ends of the ground, proving themselves as a staff on the rise with loads of untapped potential, their entry into the NBA playoffs has nonetheless but to be secured.

Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers current a big roadblock.

“He takes them to a whole other level,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch stated.

The assured staff that reached the Western Conference finals final yr — and beat the Wolves 3 times in November when George was wholesome — has the seven-time All-Star again within the lineup after a three-month absence with an elbow harm.

The Clippers go to the Wolves on Tuesday night time in a play-in sport for the No. 7 seed and a first-round date with Memphis. The loser should flip round and beat the San Antonio-New Orleans winner to get the No. 8 seed and a matchup with league-leading Phoenix, or else start their offseason with the remainder of the lottery-bound groups.

“We stop Paul George, we win the game,” stated Anthony Edwards, who will probably have the first duty of guarding the 12-year veteran wing.

George had 76 factors, 25 rebounds, 18 assists and 4 steals over these three earlier victories by 11, 20 and 27 factors. Minnesota gained by 18 within the final matchup in January when George was out.

The Clippers, who completed 4 video games behind the Wolves, have measurably extra postseason expertise to counteract the home-court benefit.

“I don’t really believe in that,” LA coach Tyronn Lue stated. “One game, anyone can get hot or we could have a bad shooting night. We can’t ease into the game. We’ve got to be ready to go from the jump.”

The Clippers lately welcomed again one other integral participant, Norman Powell, from a damaged foot that sidelined him for 22 video games shortly after he was acquired in a commerce with Portland.

“We’re in a good place,” Lue stated. “Got to continue playing the right way.”

The Wolves solely have Karl-Anthony Towns left from their 2017-18 staff that misplaced within the first spherical to Houston, the one look within the playoffs since 2004 for the long-woebegone franchise. The followers have begun to return again and make the sector loud once more, with Towns, Edwards and the remainder of the roster giving them causes to repeat their visits.

“This is a great sports town,” stated Finch, who signed a multi-year contract extension on Monday. “If you play hard and you play the right way and you do the right things, they’ll support you.”

WELL-VERSED

The addition of defensive ace and emotional chief Patrick Beverley this season has given the Wolves an enormous increase, and he is conveniently probably the most educated individual within the group in regards to the ins and outs of the Clippers. Beverley spent the earlier 4 seasons with LA. Two trades — the primary one to Memphis — despatched him to Minnesota.

“He talks a lot of trash, but he can back it all up,” Towns stated. “So shoutout to him, what he’s done, what he’s brought this team.”

ROUGH STUFF

The Clippers had been capable of disrupt Towns and his move with the offense of their matchups this season, one of many first opponents to seek out success by sending a smaller ahead — of their case, Nicolas Batum — to defend the All-Star heart with a bodily method to the submit.

“The Batum wrestling match” was how Finch described it, with a wry smile.

KAWHI NOT?

On high of lacking George and Powell for lengthy stretches this season, the Clippers have been with out Kawhi Leonard the whole time. The two-time NBA Finals MVP remains to be rehabilitating the torn proper ACL he suffered within the second spherical of final yr’s playoffs.

Lue has given principally obscure solutions to questions on Leonard’s standing, however the Clippers haven’t dominated him out for a return at any level throughout the playoffs.

COFFEY BREWING

Clippers guard Amir Coffey took benefit of elevated enjoying time amid the accidents, and he’ll have an opportunity to point out off his improvement in his dwelling state. The former Gophers star was the Minnesota AP Player of the Year for Hopkins High School in 2016.

“Going back home, the most important game of the season, having my people in the crowd, hopefully we can come out with a win,” stated Coffey, who began 30 video games this season and shot 54.2% from the sphere.

He performed at Target Center within the Class 4A state semifinals his sophomore yr, a four-overtime sport he gained by swishing a tiebreaking shot from nicely behind half court docket to beat the buzzer.

“Probably one of the craziest shots I made,” Coffey said.

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