National Basketball Association
Preview
Minnesota at L.A. Clippers
When: 10:30 PM ET, Thursday, January 19, 2017
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

The Los Angeles Clippers have gotten used to playing without one or two of their All-Stars, and a couple of months without Chris Paul is just the latest obstacle for the team to overcome. The Clippers will try to earn an eighth consecutive win without Paul around when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday.

Paul is expected to miss six to eight weeks after undergoing surgery on Wednesday to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb suffered while trying to defend Oklahoma City star Russell Westbrook in a 120-98 win over the Thunder on Monday. "Everything happens for a reason," Paul said while speaking with reporters at his annual CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational on Tuesday. "Unfortunately but fortunately, the team has played without me before, so the fellas will hold it down and I’ll be ready when I’m back." The Timberwolves are hoping to take advantage of Paul's absence to salvage the finale of a three-game road trip after falling at Dallas and San Antonio. “If you’re going to win on the road, you have to take care of the ball,” Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters after Tuesday's 122-114 loss to the Spurs. "Offensively, I thought we were good, with the exception of the high turnovers. In the second half, we held onto it too long."

TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT

ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (14-28): Minnesota is reportedly shopping point guard Ricky Rubio, who collected 21 points and 14 assists in Tuesday's loss. Rubio, 26, recorded a double-double in four of the last five games and is averaging 14 assists in that span but is being pushed by rookie Kris Dunn, who is the superior defender. Making the point guard's job easy is second-year center Karl-Anthony Towns, who went for 27 points and 16 rebounds on Tuesday and is averaging 26.2 points on 61.4 percent shooting and 14.2 rebounds in the last five games.

ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (29-14):
Los Angeles pushed Austin Rivers into the starting lineup when Paul missed seven games with a left hamstring injury bridging December and January and continued with a three-guard lineup when Paul returned. Rivers, who is averaging 16.5 points and 3.5 assists as a starter, is ready to take on more of the ball-handling responsibilities again. "We’re going to chug along," Rivers said at Paul's event on Tuesday. "Good news is he’ll be back in no time, miss 16 or 17 games. We’re going to hold the ship down for him."

BUZZER BEATERS

1. The Clippers went 2-5 without Paul during his last absence.

2. Timberwolves PF Gorgui Dieng is averaging 19 points in the last two games on 16-of-24 shooting.

3. The road team took the last four in the series, with Minnesota earning a 108-102 win at Los Angeles in its last trip on Feb. 3, 2016.

PREDICTION: Clippers 109, Timberwolves 105
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Minnesota 14-28 L2 9-13 5-15 0-2 14-26 1-7 7-19
L.A. Clippers 29-14 W7 17-6 12-8 3-1 26-13 5-2 20-9
Last Meeting
Minnesota L.A. Clippers
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
11/12/16 LAC 119 MIN 105 105 39 44.9 119 42 52.6
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Minnesota K. Towns 24 55.6 3
L.A. Clippers B. Griffin 20 41.2 6
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Minnesota K. Towns 10 4 6
L.A. Clippers D. Jordan 16 4 12
Assists Player  
Minnesota R. Rubio 6
L.A. Clippers C. Paul 8
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Minnesota K. Towns 1026 48.7 206
L.A. Clippers J. Redick 670 45.1 93
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Minnesota K. Towns 559 158 401
L.A. Clippers D. Jordan 632 160 472
Assists Player  
Minnesota R. Rubio 332
L.A. Clippers C. Paul 388
Quickchart Matchup
Minnesota Minnesota Off vs  L.A. Clippers L.A. Clippers Defense
Minnesota Off vs L.A. Clippers - Points For 103.1 Points For
Minnesota Off vs L.A. Clippers - Points Against 102.1 Points Against
Minnesota - FG% 45.8 FG%
L.A. Clippers - FG% 44.1 FG%
Minnesota - Reb 43.0 Reb
L.A. Clippers - Reb 43.2 Reb
L.A. Clippers L.A. Clippers Off vs  Minnesota Minnesota Defense
L.A. Clippers Off vs Minnesota - Points For 108.2 Points For
L.A. Clippers Off vs Minnesota - Points Against 104.4 Points Against
L.A. Clippers - FG% 46.9 FG%
Minnesota - FG% 46.8 FG%
L.A. Clippers - Reb 44.0 Reb
Minnesota - Reb 39.8 Reb