Already without star forward Kevin Love (fractured hand), the Timberwolves (along with the national TNT audience) received a nice boost when reports broke that point guard Ricky Rubio would make his first start of the 2012-13 season.
After suffering a season-ending torn ACL in March 2012, the sophomore player had appeared in just 10 games prior to Thursday night. His abysmal 22.2 field goal percentage entering the contest reeked of lingering effects from his grueling rehab.
But Rubio had a chance to pad his stat line when Nikola Pekovic found him on a second quarter breakaway for a point-blank layup. The shot would have trimmed Minnesota's deficit to a single point.
Yet somehow Rubio fired up the kind of shot that would have gotten him thrown off the court had this been a pick-up game.
There was no unlucky bounce or unforgiving rim to blame. Just perhaps the faint footsteps in his ear of a few trailing Clipper defenders.
His offering drew nothing but glass, leaving a stunned (and noticeably thin) crowd silenced.
His Timberwolves would eventually fall 90-77 to the Clippers, leaving them plummeting down the Western Conference standings with five straight losses.
Rubio logged a season-high 27-plus minutes in the game, but managed just four points on nine field goal attempts.