Clipper Nation can breathe easier.
Chauncey Billups had eight points and three assists in 20 minutes in his return from the ruptured Achilles he suffered in February, helping the Los Angeles Clippers snap a four game losing streak against the Minnesota Timberwolves with a 101-95 victory.
Chris Paul added 23 points and 11 assists to lead the Clippers in scoring, with Blake Griffin adding 18 points and 6 rebounds on 9 for 17 shooting. Diondre Jordan played a stellar game, with 15 points, 6 rebounds (4 offensive) and a key dunk with 9 seconds left on a spectacular alley-oop from Billups to cement the victory.
The game began with Minnesota taking an early lead on 3 pointers and offensive put backs, pushing their advantage to 9 in the second quarter before the Clippers responded with an 11-0 run, capped by a Lamar Odom dunk on a miss by Eric Bledsoe, his first above-the-rim jam of the year. By halftime, the Clippers clung to a 2 point lead at 57-55.
Kevin Love, still recovering from his hand injury, scored an aggressive 19 points (12 at the line) while pulling down 12 rebounds. Alexey Shved came off the bench to score 17 points for the Wolves as the Wolve’s bench kept pace with the Clippers. JJ Barea (8 points, 2 assists) continually made his way into the paint to either score or find open teammates for layups and/or fouls. Minnesota kept the game competitive by crashing the boards and out rebounding the Clippers 52-35.
The game remained tight right up to the end, as the Wolves either answered Clipper runs with timely baskets or the Clippers shooters went cold, Jamal Crawford and Caron Butler missing several wide open shots to keep Minnesota in the game. In the end, however, it was simply too much Chris Paul, who hit clutch foul shots as the Wolves were forced to foul.