Notebook: Clippers 101, Timberwolves 95



Posted Nov 29, 2012 1:50 AM

By Dan Arritt, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: The Clippers went back to doing what they do best Wednesday night, dominating the paint against Kevin Love and the visiting Timberwolves. Chris Paul paced L.A. with 23 points and 11 assists, and post players DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin bounced back with solid performances in the 101-95 victory at Staples Center, ending a four-game losing streak for the Clippers.

THE STAT: Love had 19 points and 12 rebounds but it was the Clippers who owned the paint just two nights after establishing a franchise record with 18 3-pointers in a loss to New Orleans. L.A. owned a 54-38 advantage in points in the paint. Griffin, who scored a career-low four points in the loss to the Hornets, came back with 18 points and six rebounds against Minnesota. Jordan, who scored a season-low three points against New Orleans, finished with 15 points and six rebounds.

QUOTABLE: "I knew this day would come."

-- Clippers' Chris Paul

TURNING POINT: The Clippers were clinging to a two-point lead heading toward the final minute of the fourth quarter when Chauncey Billups, making his season debut after tearing his Achilles in February, stole a pass from Luke Ridnour and set off the other way. He spotted Jordan making a B-line toward the basket and threw a lob from above the 3-point line. Jordan caught the pass high above the rim, slammed it through and was fouled. He made the free throw to push the lead to five and Minnesota never got back within one possession with the ball in hand.

HOT: Clippers reserve forward Matt Barnes bounced back from three straight poor performances to score 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting and grab six rebounds in 26 minutes. His energy helped the Clippers bounce back from a nine-point first-half deficit.

NOT: Two days after setting a Clippers franchise record by sinking nine 3-pointers and scoring 33 points, Caron Butler struggled to find the bottom of the net. He missed seven of eight field-goal attempts and finished with two points, or 31 less than he scored on Monday.

GOOD MOVE: Clippers backup guard Jamal Crawford came into the game leading the team in scoring at 18 points a game and he has been a regular down the stretch of games. But it was Billups who played most of the minutes in crunch time, hitting Jordan with the biggest lob pass of the season and finishing with seven points and three assists in 20 minutes.

QUOTABLE II: "A great win for us in terms of getting some of our energy back and working Chauncey into the lineup. I thought everybody contributed."

-- Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro

BAD MOVE: The Timberwolves committed three fouls in the first 1:43 of the fourth quarter and L.A. was in the bonus with 6:47 left. The Clippers took advantage of a few extra trips to the line in the final minutes, shooting 9-for-11 overall.

NOTABLE: Minnesota starting forward Andrei Kirilenko was a late scratch because of back spasms. He's third on the team in scoring at 13 points a game. Josh Howard started in his place and finished with seven points in 27 minutes. ... Minnesota backup forward Derrick Williams, who did not play in three of the last four games after starting the previous nine, had four points and five rebounds in 12 minutes. ... Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio, out since February after undergoing knee surgery, was cleared for contact earlier in the day. ... Clippers backup forward Ronny Turiaf sprained his ankle in the third quarter. He returned from the locker room but did not return to the game.

UP NEXT: For the Clippers, Saturday vs. Sacramento, Monday @ Utah, Wednesday vs. Dallas. For the Timberwolves, Friday vs. Milwaukee, Tuesday @ Philadelphia, Wednesday @ Boston.