The Los Angeles Clippers claimed their 31st victory in 40 games with a solid victory over the fading Minnesota Timberwolves, a team that had historically given us fits (they swept all three contests against the Clippers last season).
The team looked a bit worn, having played 3 road games in 4 nights, two against likely playoff contenders, but persevered through some sloppy stretches to pull away in the fourth quarter. Jamal Crawford led the way with 22 points, though only on 7-17 shooting. Eric Bledsoe, hampered by early foul trouble, suffered through his worst game since filling in for the injured Chris Paul (knee bruise), scoring only 2 points and 2 assists, and 4 turnovers, though he did tally four steals. Lamar Odom and Matt Barnes kept the defensive energy going, holding the Wolves to just 35% shooting, with Rony Turiaf scoring 11 points. Odom grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out 6 assists, while Barnes scored 10 points and pulled down 6 boards. Blake Griffin added 20 points, but mainly worked as a setup man low on the block, dishing to cutters as the Clippers owned the paint all night long.
Minnesota’s roster, sadly, reads like a military triage unit, with almost an entire roster’s worth of players out injured. Kevin Love is expected to miss another 8 weeks with a broken hand, and the Wolves are holding their collective breath after watching Nicola Pekovic, who is in the midst of his best season, left the game limping in the 3rd quarter. He was followed to the trainer’s room by Alexey Shved, who rolled his ankle midway through the 4th period. Head Coach Rick Adelman missed his 6th straight game tending to his ailing wife, leaving the coaching duties to Terry Porter. The Timberwolves fought hard for their home fans, but ultimately could not overcome the depth advantage of the Clippers, weary or not.
The Clippers now return to Staples Center on Saturday for a game against the Washington Wizards before heading up north for a rematch with Golden State at Oracle Arena. The Warriors will be without Stephen Curry, who has been shut down indefinitely due to ankle problems.
Tags: Blake Griffin Caron Butler Chauncey Billups Chris Paul DeAndre Jordan Eric Bledsoe Grant Hill Jamal Crawford LA Clippers Lamar Odom Lob City Los Angeles Los Angeles Clippers Los Angeles Clippers Matt Barnes Minnesota Timberwolves Vinny Del Negro