Game #29 | December 22, 2013
Staples Center | Los Angeles, CA

  • 120

  • 116


32 17 13 4 1
















LOS ANGELES – Since the first day Doc Rivers arrived he’s been pushing the message that in order to get where the Clippers want to go they have to play through every miscue, every perceived disadvantage and every piece of adversity.

Sunday evening on the second night of a back-to-back, the Clippers showed they may be getting the message.

Down by five with less than a minute to go in the fourth quarter, they came back to stun the Minnesota Timberwolves in overtime, 120-116, to win their fifth straight game and sweep a four-game home stand.

“It’s a great lesson for us,” Rivers said. “I kept saying it throughout and down the stretch, ‘It’s not over. There’s plenty of time. It’s not over.’ And I give them credit and they kind of hung in there.

“There were a lot of times in that game where we could have given in, but we didn’t.”

Jared Dudley, who had missed his first six shots from 3-point range in the game, connected on a 3-pointer from the left wing off a brilliantly designed out of bounds play and kick-out pass along the baseline by Chris Paul.

Paul knocked down two free throws to put the Clippers up three with 19.2 seconds to go and Kevin Love answered with a jump hook. But Paul made 1-of-2 free throws and Nikola Pekovic missed a chance to tie it on the other end.

Paul, who finished with 19 points, 13 assists and six rebounds, made the final two foul shots to finally put the game out of Minnesota’s reach.

The Clippers (20-9) won despite losing Matt Barnes to a flagrant-foul penalty two ejection, losing Blake Griffin, who had 32 points, 10 rebounds and four steals, to his sixth foul less than a minute into overtime, and losing a 10-point third-quarter lead.

“We just stuck together,” DeAndre Jordan said. “Even when Blake got his sixth foul of the game, we just together and this is definitely a game we grew from.”

Down 101-96 with 5:46 to play, the Clippers forced five consecutive misses and two turnovers but failed to score on the other end until Griffin put in a reverse layup on an offensive rebound 2:58 later.

Paul made a pair of free throws to cut Minnesota’s lead to one, but back-to-back flip shots by Kevin Love before a Clipper double-team could reach him extended Minnesota’s lead back to 105-100 at the 1:29 mark.

Love finished with a game-high 45 points and 19 rebounds, offsetting Griffin’s night. But he missed a similar hook shot with less than 40 seconds to go and went 1-for-2 from the foul line after Griffin threw down a dunk on a pick-and-roll with Paul.

All the Clippers needed was a chance.

Jamal Crawford, who scored 22 points, made a sweeping layup around Pekovic with 13.2 seconds to go, pulling L.A. within two. Minnesota called a quick timeout, but Paul stripped Kevin Martin in the backcourt on the ensuing out of bounds play and Crawford tied the game with a breakaway dunk. Pekovic (34 points and 14 rebounds) missed two chances to win in a wild scramble in the final seven seconds before the buzzer ended regulation.

“I was guarding the inbounder and Kevin Martin just cut to the backcourt and I thought [Crawford] was going to be with him,” Paul said of steal and basket at the end of regulation. “I saw nobody with him, so when they threw it my initial thing was to try and steal it somehow some way. And saw he was going to dribble with his left hand to get to my body and backed off a little bit and got a hand on it.”

In overtime Minnesota earned a two-point lead on a Pekovic hook shot, but Dudley canned his only 3-pointer on the next possession, giving the Clippers a 115-114 lead with 38.6 seconds remaining.

“[Paul] just went underneath the baseline and threw it,” Dudley said. “And you’ve got to make those ones, especially when you get it that wide open and in that clutch situation.”

The Clippers and Wolves, who have played three times this season with a combined 10-point margin of victory, were tied 16 times Sunday and had the lead change hands 10 times. Despite Pekovic and Love combining for 79 points and 33 rebounds, though, the Clippers countered with five players scoring more than 15 points, including Darren Collison’s season-high 18 off the bench on 8-for-12 from the field.

“A lot of guys stepped up for us,” Rivers said.

Griffin committed a costly foul with 0.4 seconds left in the first half. With the Clippers up, 56-51, he bumped Love on a 51-foot heave as Love leaned into Griffin to draw contact. Love made all three free throws. Love’s free throws gave him 22 first-half points, and drew the third foul on Griffin and somewhat dimmed what had been a shimmering opening half for Griffin. He scored 20 points with five rebounds, two assists and three steals.

He punished Minnesota for using the slower-footed Pekovic against him. Griffin got to the rim for five dunks or layups and went 8-for-9 from the foul line. He was also charged with increased defensive responsibility as Jordan was saddled with his third foul 1:45 into the second quarter.

Barnes’ flagrant came after he swiped down hard across Love’s arms on a drive to the hoop. It was whistled a flagrant-1 but after review was upgraded. The possession led to two Love free throws and a 3-pointer… The Clippers outscored Minnesota, 66-60, in the paint… They had 14 steals… Ricky Rubio went scoreless in 38:40, but had 12 assists… Crawford had 10 3-pointers in his last two games. The Clippers are 5-0 when he starts… Minnesota out-rebounded the Clippers, 54-45… The Clippers are 12-2 at home and 14-3 against the Western Conference…


  Clippers forward Blake Griffin on his overall thoughts about the game:
“We didn‘t give up. Every single time out we came through at the end of the game and in overtime. Doc [Rivers] kept stressing, everybody really on the bench was saying, ‘We have time to win this game.‘ I think everybody just believed and we got it done.”

Clippers center DeAndre Jordan on the team’s defensive strategy in the fourth:

“We didn‘t want to foul; we wanted to just trap it and try to make a play on the ball. I was planning that they turn it over or we got a deflection, and we did. Jamal [Crawford] went down and dunked the ball which I never seen before in my life which it was a sight to see.”

  Clippers guard Jamal Crawford on his dunk at the end of regulation:
“Chris [Paul] played great defense. It was more of his play than mine. Obviously, centering Kevin Martin to his left made it difficult. Chris is one of the best defenders out there. I just figured that he lost the ball in close proximity and I was able to get it. I wanted to dunk and made sure it went in.”

Clippers forward Jared Dudley on getting out of his shooting slump:

“You know, I think my mom texted me and was like, ‘I know you can play better than this.‘ It‘s funny how it is. When your mom‘s texting you, you know you‘re not playing well. I mean, it was something I never had experience with in my career—I was missing open shots. For me, it was just enough is enough. Ever since the Washington game I‘ve just been more confident.”

Timberwolves forward Kevin Love on the game:
We just blew it. Blew the game. I don‘t know how else to say it – we blew the game.”




By: Eric Patten | Follow @EricPatten

LOS ANGELES – The Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves meet again.

Just 29 games into the 2013-14 season, the two Western Conference foes will play for the third time on Sunday night in the second game of a home back-to-back for the Clippers.

“We’ve played them twice,” Jared Dudley said of Minnesota. “They’re a team where rebounding and points in the paint are huge. [Kevin] Love in the elbow sets, running it like another point guard. For them, it’s keep them out of transition, make [Kevin] Love, you know, no open looks for him, and just attack them. We have our principles, so we know what we have to do. With the back-to-back, we’re going to have to have a lot of guys contribute.”

In their past four games, all wins, the Clippers have gotten contributions from everywhere. They closed out their seven-game road trip with five starters combining for 102 points. And they have won three straight home games with Dudley, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford pitching in 20-point performances at various times, including a game-high 27 from Crawford in Saturday night’s 112-91 win over the Nuggets.

It is the third time this season, the Clippers (19-9) have been riding four wins in a row. The previous two streaks were snapped in game five. The visiting Timberwolves (13-14) are looking to do it again.

They come in off a 104-91 loss to the Lakers at Staples Center Friday. Their previous two games against the Clippers have been decided by a combined six points, including their two-point loss on Nov. 11 where Kevin Love missed a point-blank tip in to tie it at the buzzer.

Love is the league’s third leading scorer, top rebounder and leader in double-doubles.



Love and Blake Griffin may be the marquee matchup and Chris Paul and Ricky Rubio are not a bad alternative. But Jordan and Pekovic, both potential All-Stars, could be the real difference in the game.

The two centers both have a dozen double-doubles on the year. How they get them is entirely different. Jordan outleaps players, anchors the Clippers defense, and scrounges for points on the offensive end by running in transition and getting put-back opportunities. Pekovic is a bruiser, plays anchored to the floor and uses his near 300-pound girth to earn position on the boards.

Clippers head coach Doc Rivers has said the two hardest centers to guard are ones that step out and shoot from the perimeter or ones that are “heavy.” In his 10 career matchups with Pekovic, though, Jordan has held his own. He’s owned a rebounding edge of 2.8 per game, and has only been outrebounded by Pekovic three times (twice by only one). Pekovic, however, is riding a string of three straight games with 20 or more points against the Clippers.


1. The interior. Minnesota, for all of the points they score in the post and on transition layups and dunks, is a minus-0.8 in points in the paint. Being able to establish something inside is almost a necessity. The Wolves are a 33.6-percent shooting team from 3-point range, a number that falls to 31.8 percent when you eliminate Love’s shots from beyond the arc. That was a goal of the Clippers in the previous two meetings, allow Love to shoot contested twos but run him off the line. He’s a combined 4-for-11 from 3-point range against the Clippers.

2. Los Angeles factor. The Clippers are 11-2 at home. The Wolves have been in Los Angeles since Friday. Will the comforts of home pay off for the Clippers? Or will the extra rest on the road be an advantage for Minnesota? Rivers said Saturday he doesn’t talk to his team about what their opponent’s situation might be in terms of back-to-backs or day’s rest.

Crawford, who has at least 17 points in each of his four games as a starter, thinks it’s to avoid any deviation from their own game plan.

“Doc says that stuff because he doesn’t want us to have any excuses,” Crawford said. “He wants everything against us. He wants us to come out and do the same things night in and night out, no matter who we play or what the circumstances are.”

3. First things first. The opening period should be important. Minnesota is the highest scoring team in the NBA in the first 12 minutes (29.4 points per game) and the Clippers are 8-0 at home when leading after one. In both of the previous two matchups Minnesota got the better of the Clippers in the first quarter, though. They led 26-23 in L.A. on Nov. 11 and the teams were tied in Minnesota nine days later, after the Clippers jumped out to an early seven-point lead.


The Clippers have won seven in a row against Minnesota dating back to their final meeting of the 2011-12 season… Love has scored 26 points or more in every game he’s appeared in since he had 16 on Dec. 1… Griffin and Love lead the NBA in 20-10 games since the 2010-11 season… Luc Mbah a Moute was not a member of the Wolves’ rotation the previous two meetings with the Clippers. He was acquired on Nov. 28 in a trade with Sacramento. Mbah a Moute, however, played a key role defending Paul when the Clippers played the Kings on Nov. 23… The Clippers are 12-0 when scoring at least 104 points. The Wolves give up 102.2 points per 100 possessions… The Clippers will play their third #BackInBlue game of the regular season. They are 1-1 so far when wearing their baby blue short-sleeve jerseys…


Clippers lead, 2-0

Nov. 11 at Staples Center: Clippers 109, Timberwolves 107

Nov. 20 at Target Center: Clippers 102, Timberwolves 98

Dec. 22 at Staples Center

Mar. 31 at Target Center


  • Clippers Leaders:
    Pts: Crawford 27
    Reb: Griffin 16
    Ast: Paul 11

    Last Time Out




    Timberwolves Leaders:
    Pts: Love 25
    Reb: Love/Pekovic 13
    Ast: Rubio 7