Game #36
Target Center | Minneapolis, MN
March 5, 2012 | 5:00 PM (PST)
TV: Fox Sports West
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TEAM 1 2 3 4 FINAL
16 28 21 29 94
26 19 30 20 95
  • MARCH 7
    Chris Paul’s desperation heave from the opposite free-throw line was well overshot, allowing the Timberwolves to escape with a 95-94 win at Target Center in Minneapolis.

    It’s the shot Paul missed right before that will leave him feeling salty.

    Paul gave the Clippers (22-14) a chance to tie a game they were trailing by 11 in the fourth quarter when he was fouled by Derrick Williams on a 3-point attempt with 2.7 seconds left. With the Clippers down three, Paul hit the first and the second, then clanked the third off the front of the rim.

    “I had some great looks at threes down the stretch and we didn't make a lot of shots that we usually do,” said Paul, who had 18 points. “All in all, we had an opportunity to win and we didn't."

    The miss effectively sealed the Clippers’ third loss in three tries this season against the Timberwolves (20-19). The two teams meet again April 12 in Minneapolis.

    In their first two meetings, the Clippers fell because of poor execution in the fourth quarter. The opposite held true Monday night. The Clippers got to the free-throw line 14 times in the final quarter and hit 9-of-20 shots as they outscored the Timberwolves, 29-20.

    But they could have clamped down even tighter. Twice, Minnesota grabbed offensive rebounds and got second-chance baskets. Twice, the Clippers were whistled for technical fouls without the ball in play, resulting in two free points on free throws by Luke Ridnour.

    “We've got to do a better job of not letting that affect us and you don't want to say that one particular thing comes down to what won or lost the game,” said Blake Griffin, who was charged with one of the techincals after being fouled by Ridnour on a fast break. “But, we know it very well could have been [what affected the outcome] and I have to do a better job of controlling my emotions."

    The game proved to be another fine showcase of two of the league’s best power forwards. Griffin had 26 points and 12 rebounds, while counterpart Kevin Love had 39 and 17, including 16 points in the first quarter.

    For the second straight game, Love hit five 3-pointers. The Clippers long-range defense was lacking all evening while the Timberwolves found their shooters open beyond the arc, making 11-of-28 3-pointers.

    Also flipping the script from the previous game was the Clippers bench, which combined for 41 points a week after scoring just 11 in their 109-97 loss to Minnesota. On Monday, all five Clippers’ reserves got on the scoreboard, led by Mo Williams’ 19 points and seven apiece from Eric Bledsoe and Bobby Simmons.

    It was the bench that kept the Clippers alive even as they let the deficit extend to 11 in the fourth quarter. The lead was down to four after Simmons’ second three of the night, giving the starters a manageable deficit to come back from.

    Bledsoe said at halftime that the starters looked tired on the floor, not a surprise considering they had outlasted Houston in an overtime win the night before heading north to Minnesota.

    The inconsistency has been a recurring theme of late. Since starting the season 16-8, the Clippers have gone 7-7 over their last 14 games.

    "It was tough, we feel like we just can't get it going for some reason,” Griffin said. “We got to do a better job of not letting it get to that point where we got to make plays at the end to win.”

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