How the Clippers can regain the top seed before the All-Star break

LA Clippers, Paul George
LA Clippers, Paul George / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Monday night, the LA Clippers will welcome in the Minnesota Timberwolves for the biggest game of the year thus far. The Timberwolves currently possess a half-game lead over the Clippers for the top seed in the Western Conference, something the Clippers briefly held last week and will look to regain in this matchup.

Capturing the number one seed would guarantee LA homecourt advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs, which would greatly benefit a Clippers team that notched its 20th win in 25 games at home on Saturday against the Detroit Pistons. However, despite their success at Arena, the Clippers have a hefty challenge ahead of them in the Timberwolves.

Clippers can land the West's top seed with a win over Timberwolves

In their last meeting on January 14th, the Timberwolves came away victorious in front of their home crowd at the Target Center. The Clippers were held to just 19 points in the first quarter as Paul George and James Harden struggled to get going offensively. Kawhi Leonard attempted just three shots from beyond the arc during the 109-105 loss in Minneapolis.

As a team, Minnesota shot 56.7 percent from the field as well as a scorching 50 percent on 26 attempts from 3-point range. Anthony Edwards got to the free throw line for 12 attempts against the Clippers, knocking down 11-of-12 shots to pad his 33 total points on the evening. In order to produce a different result this go-around, the Clippers will have to play tougher defense and mitigate a strong Timberwolves offense.

Ahead of the contest, Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels is listed as questionable with a finger injury. McDaniels logged key minutes for Minnesota the last time these two teams met, scoring efficiently and coming away with two steals on the defensive end. McDaniels' status will be worth monitoring up to tip-off.

Notably, Amir Coffey played just nine minutes in the Clippers first clash with the Timberwolves this year, attempting just one shot in his time on the floor. Given his recent surge, having scored in double-digit figures in six of his last eight games, fans can expect him to have a larger impact this time out.

Next. 3 Pressing Clippers questions left to be answered after the All-Star break. 3 Pressing Clippers questions left to be answered after the All-Star break. dark