Minnesota 99, L.A. Clippers 96

LOS ANGELES, March 8 (AP) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Clippers have a combined total of 34 wins - fewer than 12 other NBA teams. So when they get together like this, no lead is safe.

Al Jefferson had 30 points and 12 rebounds, Randy Foye tied a career-high with 26 points - six in the final 1:15 - as the Timberwolves rallied back from a 13-point third-quarter deficit for a 99-96 victory on Saturday night.

The Wolves, who beat Sacramento on Friday night, have won consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 11-14, 2007. It's the first time they've won two in a row on the same road trip since sweeping a four-game western swing Dec. 2-7, 2005.

"Two wins back-to-back - it's little goals that we're setting for ourselves. That is what we are trying to strive for,'' coach Randy Wittman said. "When you are in our position, with a lot of young guys, you are trying to teach them what it takes. And they are responding.''

The Wolves (14-48) are two losses away from matching last season's total with 23 games remaining. They would have to go 10-11 the rest of the way to avoid their sixth 60-loss season in the franchise's 19-year history, and their first since going 21-61 in 1994-95.

Playing for the fourth time in five nights, Minnesota used its 24th different starting lineup. Jefferson - the only player on the team to start all 62 games and the only one averaging more than 15 points - was 13-for-22 from the field.

Corey Maggette led the Clippers with 29 points, Al Thornton added 18 and Chris Kaman had 16 points and 12 rebounds. But it wasn't enough to prevent their eighth loss in nine games.

Jefferson scored eight points during a 14-4 run, helping Minnesota turn an eight-point deficit into a 91-89 lead with 3:16 remaining. After Cuttino Mobley's 3-pointer gave Los Angeles a 94-93 lead with 1:39 to play, the Wolves regained the lead for good 24 seconds later on a 21-footer by Foye.

"I was just playing aggressive tonight,'' Foye said. "Coach put the ball in my hands, wanted me to attack and make plays, and that's what I did.''

The second-year guard added a driving layup with 10.5 seconds left, and clinched it with a pair of free throws after Maggette hit a 20-footer to cut Minnesota's lead to a point with 3 seconds on the clock.

The Clippers called timeout and inbounded the ball for a chance at a tying 3, which Mobley shot over the rim from the left corner with a wide-open look as time expired.

"I rushed it,'' Mobley said. "It shouldn't have come down to having to hit a 3-pointer, but that's the belly of the beast. They were hustling. They got a couple of loose balls, hit a couple of lucky shots, and that was the game.''

Minnesota trailed by eight at halftime before narrowing the gap to 51-49 on a layup by Jefferson with 9:34 left in the third quarter. But Los Angeles responded with a 13-2 run that increased the margin to 64-51 with 6:21 left in the period. Maggette helped fuel the rally with eight points, including a pair of three-point plays and a layup after an offensive rebound by Mobley.

The Clippers went on a 9-0 spurt that put them ahead 40-31 with 3:26 left in the second quarter. Thornton, who missed his first four shots, got himself untracked with a 17-footer and 22-footer and Kaman followed with a hook shot that capped the rally with 3:26 left in the first half.

"In the first half, we kind of got away from what we did last night. But we played well in the second half and bounced back,'' Jefferson said. "We got things moving on offense and got some stops. We rebounded real well and held them to one shot. We haven't been playing real well on the road, so to get these two wins on the west coast is big.''

Notes: Wolves C Michael Doleac was not with the club due to the death of his grandmother. ... The Clippers signed F Nick Fazekas to a second 10-day contract. ... Minnesota is now 3-42 when scoring fewer than 100 points, 2-13 in the second game of back-to-back sets, and 4-4 when Jefferson scores 30 points. They also are 2-35 when trailing after three quarters and 1-20 on the road under those circumstances. ... The Clippers, who went 0-for-14 from 3-point range against Minnesota on New Year's Eve 91-82 win at Staples Center, were 7-for-21 this time around.


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