NBA Game Summary - LA Clippers at Minnesota
(Thursday, April 12th)
Final Score: LA Clippers 95, Minnesota 82
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Blake Griffin scored 19 points, snatched 13 rebounds and dished out five assists, and the Los Angeles Clippers pulled away in the second half to defeat the Kevin Love-less Minnesota Timberwolves, 95-82, on Thursday.
Caron Butler added 17 points, while Mo Williams provided 14 points off the bench in his first game since March 22 for the Clippers, who have won four of their last five games. Chris Paul had eight points and eight assists.
The Clippers moved one game behind the idle Lakers for the top spot in the Pacific Division.
"Our two starting bigs did a good job in the second half focusing on the defensive end, which got us out into the open floor to get some easy baskets," Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said.
Love missed the game after suffering a mild concussion and neck strain during a loss at Denver on Wednesday.
Nikola Pekovic had 17 points for the Wolves, who were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss.
"We just couldn't make a shot (in the fourth quarter)," said Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman. "We just ran out of gas."
Minnesota's season turned on March 9 when it lost dynamic rookie point guard Ricky Rubio to a torn ACL in a loss to the Lakers.
The Wolves had a winning record and hadn't qualified for the postseason since Kevin Garnett led them to the West finals in 2004. Minnesota is a dismal 4-15 since the Rubio injury.
Trailing by one at the break, the Clippers began the second half on a 19-5 run to seize control of the contest.
Butler nailed two of Los Angeles' four three-pointers during the surge as the Clippers established a 66-53 edge midway through the frame.
Minnesota, though, closed the stanza on a 12-4 flurry to pull within 73-68 heading into the final quarter.
But the Clippers quickly regained their double-digit advantage in the early stages of the fourth.
Following Anthony Randolph's layup, the Clippers tallied the next nine points, and Griffin's putback dunk made it 82-70 with 8:36 remaining.
The lead swelled to as many as 19 down the stretch as the Clippers cruised to the easy win.
The Wolves led 26-21 after the first quarter and Michael Beasley's three-point play followed by J.J. Barea's layup gave them a 31-21 advantage early in the second.
However, Los Angeles charged back and took the lead with a 14-5 burst.
Griffin's three-point play capped the surge and the Clippers took a 47-46 advantage, but Minnesota had a 48-47 edge at the break.
The Clippers outscored the Wolves 48-34 in the second half and netted 24 points off 17 Minnesota turnovers...Los Angeles snapped a three-game losing steak against Minnesota.
04/13 00:15:28 ET