After starting out a huge six-game road trip with a 28-point loss in Milwaukee a week earlier, the Los Angeles Clippers have rebounded by winning four straight in Washington, Indiana, Atlanta and today in Minnesota.
Playing without the reigning Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams, the Clippers withstood the Timberwolves' furious fourth-quarter rally to improve their road record to 7-6. It's the first time since opening week that they have been above .500 on the road.
Here are the biggest takeaways from this one:
The Kawhi-PG show
This game was the real display of how deadly Paul George and Kawhi Leonard can be together on the wings.
Both erupted for a season-high tallies, becoming the first Clippers' pair to score 40+ in the same game.
Season-highs from @Yg_Trece (46 PTS) & Kawhi Leonard (42 PTS) steer the @LAClippers to the win in Minneapolis! #ClipperNation pic.twitter.com/3rUg4CpbrC- NBA (@NBA) December 14, 2019
Other than his 46, PG also recorded seven assists, five rebounds, and two steals on 17-of-31 shooting from the field in his season-high 39 minutes. George scored 16 points (6-8 FG's) in the third quarter when the Clippers outscored the Timberwolves 37-23.
"I mean it's great, I mean to just have somebody else out there help scoring the ball, making the game easier for myself," Leonard said on being part of the first Clippers' duo to score 40+ in the same game.
Leonard had 31 of his 42 in the first half, a career-high tally for any half. He also finished with 11 rebounds and two assists on 10-of-24 shooting from the field and a perfect 19-of-19 from the free-throw line in his 37 minutes.
Key late turnover kills Timberwolves' comeback
Heading into the fourth, the Timberwolves were down by 21 points but Karl-Anthony Towns wasn't ready to throw the towel in.
The 2016 Rookie of the Year nearly outscored the Clippers (22 points) by himself in the final period, going off for 18 points (5-8 FG's, 3-5 3P's, 5-6 FT's).
HELLO. IS THIS THING ON?!?!- Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) December 14, 2019
WE'VE CUT IT TO FIVE. pic.twitter.com/cjcg7fURnL
With a minute to go in the game, a Wiggins layup cut the game to 115-119. However, with 19.2 seconds to go and down five, a bad pass by Robert Covington led to a turnover that pretty much iced the game.
Towns finished the game with a team-high 39 points while Andrew Wiggins contributed with 34 (12-20 FG's).
What's going in Minnesota?
With this loss, the Timberwolves have now lost seven straight. During this streak, they are holders of the league's worst defensive rating (123.5).
However, the head coach Ryan Saunders believes their late comeback attempt in this game could be a sign of things to come.
"Hey, we are on a losing streak, we get it, you want to have some extended periods of time where you are doing the right thing, and you can show where the system is working. Having that it will be good to point to those things but it will be good to have a full game," Saunder said.
The team, that's playing the league's worst defence during their losing streak, held the superstar duo of Leonard and George to just 12 points (3-12 FG's).
"Absolutely. The way the game was going early on you could tell our spirits was a little down, period, from the way the game was going. But overall, once we decided to change that up we got back into the game and you started to see a different mindset of everyone and you seen a different vibe and energy and that's something we can build off of," Covington said on the Timberwolves' fourth-quarter performance being something to build off of.