Blake Griffin and the suddenly hot Los Angeles Clippers return home Monday night to face the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center, looking to build on the momentum of their just-concluded road trip. The Clippers began the trip with a loss in Philadelphia to run their road losing streak to 15 games, but won their final two games on the trip, in Detroit and Chicago, to pick up their first road wins of the season. Tonight is the first game all season that the Clippers, now at 7-21, will face a team with a worse record, in the 6-22 Timberwolves.
Griffin is in the midst of a streak of 15 consecutive double-doubles, the second-longest streak by a Clipper in 24 seasons. Michael Cage, he of the 30-rebound performance, had a streak of 19 straight games with at least 10 points and 10 rebounds in the 1986-1987 season. Griffin is averaging 20.7 points and 12.3 rebounds on the season, making him one of three players in the NBA this season to average 20 points and 12 boards per game.
One of the other 20-12 players this season is Kevin Love, who leads the NBA in rebounding with 15.7 rebounds per contest (Dwight Howard is the third 20-12 player this season). If Love keeps up his current averages (he is also scoring 21.1 points per game), he would be the first player to average 20 points and 15 rebounds per game since Moses Malone in 1982-83. The last player to average 15 rebounds per game was Ben Wallace in 2002-2003.
Love is having a historic rebounding season, but a small part of why his numbers are so prolific is the pace at which the Timberwolves play. They are leading the NBA, averaging 98.0 possessions per game, a possession and a half higher than the next highest team in the league (the Knicks). The league average is 92.6 possessions per game.
Since beating the Clippers on November 7 to improve to 4-9, Minnesota has won just two of 15 games. Tonight is the final game of a six-game road trip that has seen them lose the first five games, and the Timberwolves have lost 11 straight road contests. The Clippers have won their last two home games against the Timberwolves.
For more news and analysis of this game, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Clips Nation.