The Minnesota Timberwolves were none too kind to the L.A. Clippers during the abbreviated 2011-12 season.
The Wolves, despite finishing the season just 26-40, had their way with the Clips last season, winning three-of-four meetings, including both at Staples Center.
Wednesday night, the Clippers turned the tables.
Chris Paul led everybody with 23 points and 11 assists, and Chauncey Billups returned from an Achilles injury to score seven points in 19 minutes after getting the start at shooting guard as L.A. halted its four-game losing streak with a 101-95 win.
Before suffering the injury in the 20th game of last season, Billups was averaging 15 points per game.
Blake Griffin, just two days removed from his worst performance as a pro, rebounded to score 18 points on 9-17 shooting to go along with six rebounds.
Conversely, Caron Butler, coming off his best game as a Clipper (33 points, 9-15 from three-point range), mustered just two points on 1-8 shooting from the floor.
Minnesota has struggled mightily since All-Star Kevin Love returned last week from a broken hand. This loss dropped the Wolves to just 1-4 since he came back. Blaming Love completely for the team’s issues would be rather misguided, though, as he’s averaging 23 points and nearly 16 rebounds per game during that stretch. He had 19 points and 12 boards Wednesday evening.
L.A. was absolutely crushed on the glass by a 52-35 margin, yet Minnesota wasn’t able to cash-in on second-chance points.
The Timberwolves were rather injury-depleted, as well, playing without Andrei Kirilenko, Chase Budinger, Ricky Rubio and Brandon Roy. Kirilenko was a late scratch from the game with back spasms, and is day-t0-day.
DeAndre Jordan, who had played just 15 minutes in Monday’s loss to the Hornets, racked up 15 points, six rebounds and a pair of blocks in 29 minutes. Lamar Odom even showed flashes of having something left, scoring four points and grabbing five rebounds in 16 minutes of action.
The lead changed hands several times early in the fourth quarter, but a late push by the Clippers proved too much for the Wolves to overcome. Griffin flushed home an alley-oop off a lob from Billups with about 15 seconds to go that put L.A. up by four, essentially ending Minnesota’s shot at a rally.
The team got a combined 24 points off-the-bench from Matt Barnes and Jamal Crawford, but Crawford struggled with his shot, converting just two of his 10 attempts, including 1-5 from deep.
Minnesota will head home to host the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, while the Sacramento Kings will come to Staples Center to face the Clippers on Saturday.
L.A. improved to 9-6 on the season.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers.