Game #32
STAPLES Center | Los Angeles, CA
February 28, 2012 | 7:30 PM (PST)
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TEAM 1 2 3 4 FINAL
22 29 22 36 109
31 23 22 21 97
  • MARCH 1
    In a span of time that felt as long as the Oscars, the Timberwolves could not miss a shot.

    Step back. Turnaround. Fade away. Swish. Swish. Swish.

    After 12-straight Minnesota makes spanning the third and fourth quarters, the Clippers were staring at a double-digit loss. For the second time this year, the Timberwolves came to Staples Center and beat the Clippers, 109-97, Tuesday night.

    It started with a short Kevin Love hook shot, followed by a Michael Beasley 3-pointer that cut the Clippers’ lead -- which had been as much as 10 in the quarter -- to just three heading into the fourth.

    And just like the team's last matchup, a 101-98 win on a buzzer-beating three from Love, the Timberwolves (18-17) outplayed the Clippers (20-12) in the fourth quarter.

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  • "They did what I thought they would," Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. "They tried to keep it close, like they've been doing a lot. They've got a couple scorers. Derrick [Williams] and Beasley got hot, and we couldn't contain them."

    The Timberwolves rolled off 10 straight shots to open the final frame and went 10:44 before missing. By that time, the Clippers were down 106-89.

    Fourth-quarter execution, preached and practiced by Clippers point guard Chris Paul, was nowhere to be found. The Clippers, donning L.A. Stars ABA throwback jerseys, couldn't keep up with the Wolves, shooting just 43 percent in the fourth quarter and getting outscored 36-21.

    "Sometimes it comes with experience and enduring that situation more than one time," said Paul, who had 27 points and six assists. "That's something we’ve got to learn: how to put teams away."

    The Timberwolves' run happened with Love, their All-Star power forward, mostly on the bench after he suffered a rib contusion and left the game after the shot that started the barrage. He strapped on a padded shirt and looked ready to reenter, but Beasley and Williams ensured that Love wouldn't be needed for the rest of the game.

    Williams, the rookie forward selected No. 2 overall, had a season-high 27 points on nine-of-10 shooting. Beasley matched his scoring output and both had 13 points in the final quarter. The end result was 72 bench points for the Timberwolves, one of the highest outputs by reserves in the NBA this season.

    "We know they're scorers," Blake Griffin said. "We focused more on some of their starters, they just hit tough shots. That was it."

    Griffin had a game-high 30 points and seven rebounds, but tailed off after logging 18 points and five rebounds in the first quarter. He had 24 points in the first half, a Clipper high for the season.

    Griffin and Paul helped the Clippers start the game strong, but they didn’t get the support needed to keep up with the Timberwolves Tuesday night.

    Caron Butler shot 1-of-10 from the field and had just a pair of points. Mo Williams had eight on 4-of-12 shooting. The Clippers starters combined for 86 points, but 72 from the opposing bench was more than enough to stop the Clippers in their only home game before a six-game, nine-day road swing that begins Thursday in Sacramento.

    “We need everybody,” Del Negro said. “We'll see what we're made of now. We've got a tough road trip coming up.”

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