Ontario, CA – The Los Angeles Clippers wrapped up preseason with a 1-3 record after a 128-100 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night’s preseason finale at Toyota Arena.
Since the regular season is approaching, some key players had the night off to rest. Head coach Ty Lue confirmed earlier on Monday that the opening night starting lineup would be Eric Bledsoe, Reggie Jackson, Paul George, Marcus Morris and Ivica Zubac. Of those starters, only Bledsoe and Zubac suited up against the Timberwolves.
The beginning of the game was close. The Clippers managed to end the first quarter with a 30-27 advantage after a bad pass by Minnesota’s D’Angelo Russel led to a steal and dunk from Jay Scrubb. However, the Timberwolves found a better rhythm and held a 67-57 lead at halftime.
The home team started the third quarter with a 10-0 run, but Minnesota answered with a 12-0 run to take the lead again. The Clippers stayed behind the rest of the night.
Los Angeles defense left a lot to be desired on Monday, with 128 being the most points the Clippers allowed in any of the four preseason games. Thirty of those were fast-break points, and head coach Ty Lue pointed out the need to improve in this area during the post game press conference.
“Our transition defense still needs to get better,” Lue said. “I think we are doing a lot of ball watching when the shot goes up instead of getting back.”
The team could’ve also shot better from beyond the arc, as only 26.3% of their three-pointers went in. LA shot at 41.8% from the field with Luke Kennard leading his team with 18 points. Terance Mann followed with 15 points, while Zubac and Scrubb contributed with 10 each.
“Offensively we just need to continue to keep moving the basketball. I thought we got some good shots early on that we didn’t make,” Lue said. “In the second half we got a little stagnant. That’s to be expected without a point guard. We still have a long way to go.”
The Clippers will tip off their regular season on Oct. 21 on the road against the Golden State Warriors.