(Sports Network) - Two NBA first-time All-Stars hook up in the Twin Cities tonight when Blake Griffin leads his Los Angeles Clippers into Target Center to face off with Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Despite the troubles of their respective teams Griffin was chosen as the first rookie All-Star since Tim Duncan in 1998, and Love was later chosen as an injury replacement for Yao Ming. Both players continue to rack up double- doubles at historic paces with Griffin's 46 second to Love's 50 in the NBA.
The Clippers are in the midst of a brutal 11-game road trip without leading scorer Eric Gordon and fell to a dismal 1-6 on the trek Monday in Milwaukee when Carlos Delfino hit seven three-pointers on his way to a 26-point, nine- rebound effort, as the Bucks pulled away from LA early in the fourth quarter to earn a 102-78 victory.
Griffin totaled 19 points and 12 rebounds, and Baron Davis went for 22 points with six assists for the Clippers, who have lost three straight and are a dismal 4-21 overall, second worst in the Western Conference to Minnesota's 4-24 mark as the visitor.
"Fourth quarters kill us. When the game gets a little tight, we don't execute as well," Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said.
Gordon, who has missed the last 12 games with a sprained right wrist, will continue to sit out until after the All-Star break.
The Wolves, meanwhile, have dropped two straight on a three-game homestand, the latest of which took place on Monday when Wesley Matthews led all scorers with 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds, as the Portland Trail Blazers earned a 95-81 victory over Minnesota.
The Trail Blazers have dominated the Timberwolves of late, sweeping the four- game season series and winning 16 straight overall. Love posted his franchise- record 41st consecutive double-double ending with 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who have not defeated Portland since a 94-93 triumph on March 25, 2007 in Minneapolis.
Ex-Blazer Martell Webster came off the bench to register a team-high 17 points for Minnesota, which has dropped three straight and 12 of its last 15 overall.
"They're playing really great basketball. I don't think it had anything to do with taking Kevin Love out of the game," Webster said about the Trail Blazers' strategy. "They're playing winning basketball."
The Clippers have won five of the last seven meetings in the series, including a 2-1 advantage so far this season.