Game #75 | March 31, 2014
Target Center | Minneapolis, MN
MINNEAPOLIS – Missing two more players due to injury, the Clippers finished off the second best month in franchise history in rousing fashion.
No Blake Griffin. No Jamal Crawford. But the Clippers still continued their season-long trend of playing through adversity.
On Monday night, they did it by blowing the host Timberwolves away in the third quarter. An extended run that included 16 points from Darren Collison, helped the Clippers win, 114-104, at Target Center.
It was their third victory in a row. They also completed the month of March with a 13-2 record. Only the 2012-13 team had a better record in a calendar month, going 16-0 in December.
The Clippers (53-22), who moved two games away out of the No. 2 seed in the West, had just 10 available players, including four guards. Griffin missed his first game of the season due to lower back spasms that he suffered in Houston two nights ago. Crawford sat out with a sore left Achilles tendon. And J.J. Redick (back) and Danny Granger (hamstring) were already not expected to play.
“It’s funny,” Chris Paul said, “before we ran out on the court tonight I was over there in the huddle I said, ‘Fellas let’s be who we are. We got who we got. Keep the train moving.’”
And that’s precisely what they did, winning for the 16th time in their last 18 games. They hung around in the first half, earning a 54-51 lead by scoring seven of the final 10 points. Then used a 33-7 run in the middle of the third quarter to build a 24-point advantage.
“I thought ball movement [in the third] was great,” Collison said. “It allowed us to take the pressure off of us offensively. We took some good shots and just played unselfish.”
Collison and Paul were at the heart of the run. Collison scored 16 of his season-high 28 points in the period. He also added seven assists and four rebounds. And Paul scored 22 points with nine assists, seven rebounds and three steals. Matt Barnes had 19 points. Jared Dudley scored 16, his first game in double figures since Jan. 15 when he had 10 points.
And DeAndre Jordan set a new career-high with 24 rebounds. Jordan added 11 points and four blocked shots, anchoring a Clippers’ defense that held Minnesota to 42.6 percent shooting.
Jordan’s ability to control the glass was imperative against a Timberwolves team that is among the best rebounding front courts in the NBA. Dudley, who started in place of Griffin, was charged with guarding All-Star Kevin Love and did what he could to prevent the league’s second-leading rebounder from getting to the offensive glass. It freed things up for Jordan, who had his fourth 20-rebound game of the season.
“We kept believing that if we could rebound at all against them that because [Dudley] was at the four that we could really get out on the break,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “I thought it finally broke through in the third quarter.”
Griffin’s streak of 105 consecutive games was broken… Jordan had 12 rebounds in the first quarter, one shy of Michael Cage’s and Lorenzen Wright’s franchise record… Nikola Pekovic left the game in the first half with a sore right ankle and did not return… Rapper Young MC performed his 1989 hit “Bust A Move” at halftime… Minnesota was led by Love’s 20 points and 13 rebounds… The Clippers had all five starters score in double figures for the 17th time. They are undefeated when that happens… The Clippers shot 46.3 percent, including going 12-for-30 from 3-point range. It was the fourth game in a row that the Clippers made at least 10 3-pointers…
Clippers Head Coach Doc Rivers
“Yea it’s great. I mean all of our guys really and (Dudley) was great. I told the team this earlier and it was harder on him because he was starting and then you go from starting to not playing to then playing the four more than the three. It’s tough, but it’s part of being a teammate. It really is and sometimes you’re don't always get it exactly the way you want it. But you can still be a part of something very successful and that’s what the others decided to do.”
On defending Love:
“I thought (Dudley) and everybody. We clogged the paint up and we tried to take away anything easy. Make him shoot over top of us and get into his body. He missed a couple that he normally makes but I thought overall defensively, (Dudley) and Matt (Barnes) and whoever was guarding him did a nice job.”
“That’s why I like this team. I mean Ryan (Hollins), they don’t know if they are going to play but they are ready to play. I don’t know what else you can ask as a coach.”
On the pace:
“We talked about it this morning. We felt like if we were going to go small then we can’t walk the ball with them. If we can spread the floor and run, the only way we could run was if we got stops and run. We thought that if we could do that, we could get some good shots.
Matchup with Love
“The only advantage I really had was basically when he had the ball on the outside perimeter he'd get in and put the ball down that from a quickness stand point that me moving my feet that he really couldn't get by me so I could take away his three's and his jump shots. The advantage he had was that when the ball goes up, those boards, he's so big; he's sneaky in grabbing your arm and getting underneath you so my mentality was to just not make him get the rebound and have him work for every shot."
What was the key in the third quarter?
“I thought the key in the third quarter, I thought was that they were tired. We knew they played last night. They weren't getting back at all, even with Kevin Love, a couple of my transition three's were because he was tired of getting back. We didn't turn the ball over that much in the third quarter compared to the 1st half and we hit shots. I thought just the momentum kept building, they kept pressing and then it got out of control pretty quick."
What was the key in the third quarter?
“I thought the ball movement was great, I thought it was excellent. It allowed us to take the pressure off of us offensively and take some good shots. We just played unselfish, on the defensive end when we play really good it makes it easier for us to get out on transition."
Did you get a feeling that you could beat guys up the court?
“Yeah, I felt like in the 1st quarter I was missing some easy layups in transition and it's just about being tough and finishing strong. I give credit to everybody on the defensive end, not just myself; I thought we were able to make it a lot easier for us in transition by playing defense."
DeAndre Jordan's performance
“DJ was amazing tonight. We told him that he would've had thirty-some rebounds had he not knocked half of them out of bounds. His energy is amazing, he's just so durable, he plays every night. Tonight it was just him in there rebounding and he was able to do it. That big guy right there deserves Defensive Player of the Year, the rebounding, all of the stuff. He deserves it all.
Timberwolves Head Coach Rick Adelman
“We just went into the third quarter, it was like we missed every shot we took. It’s weird that we scored seven or eight points right off the bat and then we couldn’t score forever. The worst part about that is it was like a three-on-two break every single time. It wasn’t like we were making them work. They were just getting layup after layup. Even in the fourth quarter, they kept playing. They kept playing and they had a nice quarter. We just have to play better than that with the teams we are playing.
“I didn’t think we were aggressive enough. We kept taking jump shots, jumper after jumper and every time we missed, the people on the opposite side of where the ball went up from didn’t run back. That’s a cardinal rule of transition. We just gave into it. Like I said, this fourth quarter group pushed it at them and got something going.”
On the timeouts in the third quarter:
“I almost ran out of them. I don’t know what they would have done if I ran out of them. If they would have made us take on in the fourth quarter or not. Test that sometime. I really don’t know the rule.”
Postgame: Chris Paul | 3/31/2014Chris Paul addresses the media after tonight's 114-104 victory over the Timberwolves.
Postgame: Doc Rivers | 3/31/2014Doc Rivers addresses the media after tonight's 114-104 victory over the Timberwolves.
Postgame: Jared Dudley | 3/31/2014Jared Dudley addresses the media after tonight's 114-104 victory over the Timberwolves.
Collison Lobs to JordanDarren Collison throws it up to DeAndre Jordan for the sick slam.
Clippers vs. Timberwolves: First halfThe Clippers lead the Timberwolves by three at the half.
Doc Rivers Pregame - 3/31/14Doc Rivers provides injury updates on Jamal, Blake and JJ prior to the game in Minnesota.
LACtv Preview: Clippers at TwolvesBlake Griffin a game time decision as Clippers face the Timberwolves Monday night in Minnesota.
Shootaround - Blake Griffin | 3/31/2014Blake Griffin discusses his injury and talks about his status at today's shootaround.
Chris Paul Postgame - 3/29/14Chris Paul discusses the big win over Houston.
Doc Rivers Postgame - 3/29/14Doc Rivers addresses the media following the win over Houston.
Paul Leads Clippers over RocketsClippers vs. Rockets: Chris Paul records 32 points and 12 assists as the Clippers defeat the Rockets.
Arena Link: Jamal CrawfordJamal Crawford joins the show following the Clippers big win over the Rockets.
Jordan FinishesDeAndre Jordan finishes the alley-oop lob from Chris Paul with authority.
Griffin's InjuryBlake Griffin leaves the game in the first quarter with back spasms against the Rockets.
Doc Rivers Pregame - 3/29/14Doc pregame talks about Blake and DJ's chemistry, why he won't adjust even w/o Dwight Howard in lineup for HOU and more.
DeAndre Jordan Shootaround - 3/29/14DeAndre Jordan says the key to beating the Rockets is slowing them in transition. Jordan talks about that and more from shootaround in Houston
Chris Paul Shootaround - 3/29/14Chris Paul talks about the Clippers approach against the Rockets w/o Dwight Howard and more from shootaround in Houston
CLIP SESSION - Best of DJSome of DeAndre Jordan's best plays so far this season
LACtv Preview: Clippers at RocketsClippers go for the season sweep of the Rockets Saturday in Houston.
DeAndre Jordan: 'SIX'The number he wears on his jersey isn't the only similarity between DeAndre Jordan and a defensive legend.
|CLICK HERE TO VIEW MORE PHOTOS FROM THE GAME »|
|Chris Paul and Blake Griffin Named to 2014 All-NBA Team June 04, 2014||Chris Paul All-Defensive First Team June 02, 2014||Spirit Dance Team: Clippers vs. Thunder | Game 6 | 5/15/2014 May 16, 2014||Game Action: Clippers vs. Thunder: Game 6 | 5/15/2014 May 16, 2014|
|Clippers vs. Thunder: Game 6 | 5/15/2014 May 15, 2014||Game 5 | Clippers vs. Thunder | 5/13/2014 May 13, 2014|
By: Eric Patten | Follow @EricPatten
The Playoffs are clinched, now the Clippers can move on to sewing up their highest seed in franchise history.
The Clippers (52-22) have eight games remaining and what effectively amounts to a three-game lead over the Houston Rockets for No. 3 in the West after an 11-point comeback win in Houston on Saturday. They left Southeast Texas on Sunday for Minneapolis, where the Clippers visit Target Center to take on the Timberwolves (36-36) in game four of their five-game road trip.
Minnesota is returning home after losing to the Brooklyn Nets Sunday in a one-off road game. The Wolves have lost four of their last six games and come home to face Clippers team that has defeated them eight consecutive times, including all three this season.
However, the three previous matchups have all been close. The Clippers won in overtime and after Kevin Love missed a point-blank putback layup at the buzzer in the two games in Los Angeles and needed a rousing fourth quarter from Chris Paul to put the Wolves away four on the road in late November.
Chris Paul vs. Ricky Rubio
THREE THINGS TO WATCH ON PRIME TICKET
- Blake Griffin’s status will be likely the most talked about thing leading up to Monday’s game. The superstar forward left the Clippers’ win over the Rockets in the first quarter and did not return. He is listed as day-to-day with lower back spasms, but the team is likely to exercise caution with Griffin because of the proximity of the postseason. Griffin has not missed a game this season, but if he does it will come at a time when the Clippers face his most noteworthy individual rival, and the Clippers could use him. Fellow All-Star Kevin Love has had success against the Clippers this season, averaging 26.0 points, 16.7 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game in their three meetings.
- The Timberwolves and Clippers both thrive on forcing turnovers to get their running games going. Minnesota is fifth in points off turnovers (18.6 per game) and eighth in fast-break points (15.5), while the Clippers are first in points off turnovers (19.7 per game) and second in fast-break points (18.5). However, the Clippers have been able to slow the Wolves down in their previous three meetings, holding them to just 11.7 points on the break.
- The Clippers have already won 12 games in the month of March, which ties the second most wins in a calendar month in franchise history. They could become just the second team in franchise history to win 13 or more games in a month with a win over the Timberwolves Monday. They enter the game 12-3 in the month.
The Clippers are 21-17 on the road and Minnesota is 21-14 at home… Paul is seeking to score 30 points or more in a third game in a row. He has never done that in his career… A victory would move the Clippers’ magic number to two for clinching the Pacific Division… As part of their eight-game winning streak over Minnesota, the Clippers have won four in a row at Target Center…
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Chris Paul: “I’ve never been on a team like this before. I think a lot of teams when a guy goes down, they start looking for excuses and I’ve been on teams like that. Our team is like alright next man stand up and they know what to do.”
LAC: J.J. Redick (back) will likely miss his 24th game in a row. Danny Granger (strained left hamstring) is not with the team. And Griffin is day-to-day.
REGULAR SEASON SERIES HISTORY
All Time: 49-48 (Home: 30-19, Road: 19-29)
Road Streak: Won 4
Largest Margin of Victory:
Nov. 11, 2013 at Staples Center: Clippers 109, Timberwolves 107
LAST TIME OUT
Pts: Paul 30