Notebook: Clippers 111, Timberwolves 95



Posted Apr 11, 2013 2:34 AM

Dan Arritt, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: Clippers guard Willie Green was supposed to be just a fill-in while the team waits for savvy veteran Chauncey Billups to return from a groin injury. But the more time Green spends with the starting unit, the more he looks like a permanent replacement. Green made all three of his 3-point attempts Wednesday night and scored 15 points to help the Clippers to a 111-95 victory over the Timberwolves at Staples Center.

QUOTABLE: "Willie has been great. We've been saying Chauncey is going to come back for a while. Hopefully, he'll get back here soon. Willie, like I said, has been a complete pro. When his number's called, he's ready to go."

-- Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro

THE STAT: Two games after posting their 50th win in franchise history and one game after winning their first division title and sweeping the Lakers for the first time in club history, the Clippers established another mark Wednesday, winning their 31st home game of the season.

TURNING POINT: The Timberwolves never led but didn't go away easily either. They trimmed a 12-point second-quarter deficit to three with 6:30 left in the third quarter. Green hit a 3-pointer 32 seconds later to spark a 19-6 run to close out the quarter and Minnesota never got back within single digits.

HOT: The Clipper starters combined to shoot 66.7 percent from the floor. Blake Griffin was 9-for-13 with 19 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and Chris Paul was 7-for-11 with 19 points and 11 assists. DeAndre Jordan shot 5-for-6 and Caron Butler was 4-for-7, both finishing with 10 points. The bench wasn't completely left out, as Matt Barnes shot 6-for-9 and scored 14 points and Lamar Odom matched his season high with 13 rebounds. In his last 12 appearances, Green is 20-for-29 from 3-point range.

NOT: To say Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio is in shooting slump might be an understatement. He entered the game having missed 29 of his previous 33 field-goal attempts over the previous four games, including an 0-for-10 performance in Tuesday's loss in Phoenix. He actually increased his percentage over the last four games by shooting 2-for-8 against the Clippers and scoring six points. He's officially 6-for-43 in the last four games. ... The Clippers were unusually sloppy with the ball, committing 15 of their 20 turnovers in the second half, one off their season high for a half.

GOOD MOVE: The Clippers are prepping themselves for the playoffs, meaning they need to be sharp from the opening tip. They got off to a great start against the Timberwolves, scoring on Paul's lob to Jordan in the opening 15 seconds and Jordan then blocked back-to-back shots on the other end. Before the Timberwolves knew it, they were down 8-0 and chasing the Clippers the rest of the way.

QUOTABLE II: "You want to be playing your best basketball down the stretch. I think we've really made it a point the last seven or so games to play with a lot of energy, to play with a lot of pace and try to get on track."

-- Griffin

BAD MOVE: With their star player, Kevin Love, sidelined the rest of the season with a broken hand and knee injury, the remaining Timberwolves are trying to create an identity for themselves as the final games to their season count down. Lately, it has been Nikola Pekovic and nobody else. That's how the game against the Clippers began too, as Pekovic scored his team's first seven points as Minnesota fell behind 16-7. Pekovic made two of his first three shots, while the rest of the starters combined to miss their first 12. Pekovic finished with a team-high 20 points.

NOTABLE: Jordan bumped his league-leading field-goal percentage to 64.3 on the season. ... Clippers back-up guard Jamal Crawford scored six of his 11 points in the fourth quarter. He now has 465 points in the fourth quarter this season, third-most in the league. Of the top 10 players in that category, Crawford is the only one who hasn't started a game this season. ... The Clippers blocked 11 shots, two off their season high. ... The Timberwolves had nine turnovers, marking this the 21st time in the last 27 games they've forced more turnovers than they've committed. ... Minnesota forward Derrick Williams had 13 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double since March 3 against the Heat.

UP NEXT: For the Clippers, Friday @ New Orleans, Saturday @ Memphis, Tuesday vs. Portland. For the Timberwolves, Friday @ Utah, Saturday vs. Phoenix, Monday vs. Utah.