The Los Angeles Clippers play their fourth game in five nights on Friday, returning home to host the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center. The Clippers have won seven straight home games and are 23-6 in their last 29 home games dating back to last season.
Chris Paul has missed the last three games with a strained left hamstring, and the Clippers hope to have their point guard back on the court Friday night. Paul is listed as questionable for the game, likely a game-time decision.
This game features an extraordinary matchup of prolific power forwards in Blake Griffin and Kevin Love. They are the only two players in the NBA this season to average at least 21 points and 11 rebounds per game. Love has the upper hand, averaging 25.5 and 14.5 and is fifth in the league in Player Efficiency Rating at 25.5. Griffin has averaged 21.3 points and 11.8 rebounds this season, and has seven straight double-doubles. Love leads the NBA in double-doubles with 14, and Griffin is third with nine.
The game will also feature Ricky Rubio, who has been an exciting player for Minnesota this season. As Steve Perrin noted at Clips Nation, Rubio might end up the third consecutive Rookie of the Year from the 2009 NBA Draft, following Tyreke Evans in 2010 and Griffin in 2011:
Rubio spent two additional seasons playing in the ACB in Spain after being the fifth pick in the 2009 draft, and is a leading candidate for ROY this season. Other candidates will emerge over the course of the season, but for now it looks like a two man race between Rubio and 2011 first overall pick.
The Clippers have beaten Minnesota three straight times, and have bested the Timberwolves in four straight meetings at Staples Center.
Friday night's 7:30 p.m. PST game will be televised by ESPN and Prime Ticket. For more news and information on the Clippers, be sure to read Clips Nation.