Late Comeback Falls Short As Clippers Beat Wolves, 109-107

Late Comeback Falls Short As Clippers Beat Wolves, 109-107








If Kevin Love gets 100 looks in that same scenario, he says it goes in 99 times.

He’s probably right. Unfortunately for Love and the Wolves, it didn’t fall on Monday night.

The Wolves battled back from 11 down with four minutes to play and had the ball with six seconds left at Staples Center with a chance to tie. But after a Kevin Martin missed jumper, Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Love each had good looks at their own put-backs that simply didn’t fall, and the Clippers held on for a 109-107 victory at home.

The ball, seemingly fixed on the rim for a second, tipped outward instead of into the basket. Love reacted with a smile of disbelief.

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“I thought I just had to touch it real quick ‘cause the time was running out,” Love said. “I didn’t want to have them go to the scorers table, and it just sat on the rim, didn’t go anywhere. Came right off.”

Had the Wolves won, they would have been the third team since 1999 to beat the Lakers and Clippers on back-to-back nights in L.A.—the others being the 2009 Mavs and the 2004 Grizzlies. That gives you an indication of how rare it is to pull off that particular sweep in that building in two consecutive days.

And even with the Clippers taking 11-point leads late in both the second and fourth quarters, Minnesota found ways to respond and make their runs. In the end, they were a basket away from overtime.

Regardless of the situation so far this season, Minnesota is showing a will to fight back. They did it in Cleveland on the tail-end of back-to-backs a week ago, and they did it once again on Monday night in L.A.

At this early juncture of the season, the Wolves are establishing their identity.

“We believe we can win,” forward Corey Brewer said. “To come back means you believe you can win. So we were down, we gave ourselves a chance. That’s all you can ask.”

Like he’s done all season, Love was an all-around presence throughout the contest. He finished with 23 points, 19 rebounds and six assists—that’s his eighth double-double in eight games. He hit four 3-pointers on the night, tying Kevin Martin for the team’s high.

Speaking of Martin, he finished with 30 points and was a major factor late in the ballgame. He heated up when the Wolves needed a spark.

Minnesota battled from 11 down in the second and even took a fourth quarter lead at 87-86 before L.A. put together a 14-2 run to take a 100-89 lead. While the Wolves put together a scheme to foul DeAndre Jordan and Ryan Hollins—putting the two Clippers bigs on the line—the Wolves opened up a window of opportunity to chip away at that lead while L.A. missed free throws.

They succeeded, thanks in large part to Martin. Minnesota went on a 10-1 run, highlighted by two 3-pointers and a driving layup by Martin, and all of a sudden the Wolves cut the lead to two.

“They believe,” Adelman said. “They believe they can get back in it. I think they made the right plays defensively and converted at the other end. It’s the way you can to play if you’re going to have a chance to win.”

Other Wolves scorers included Pek’s 25 points and 10 rebounds. Brewer finished with seven points, and Ricky Rubio finished with five points and 10 rebounds.

For the Clippers, Blake Griffin finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds, Chris Paul had 21 points and 11 assists, Jamal Crawford had 18 points and DeAndre Jordan had 14 points and 11 boards.

Leader of the Pack: Kevin Martin

Another day, another 30-point performance by Kevin Martin. Martin drained 30 points tonight on 9-of-22 shooting, including 4-of-8 from the 3-point line as well as 8-of-8 from the line. He heated up in the second half, scoring eight points in the third and another 12 in the fourth. He was a major part of the Wolves’ comeback in the fourth, hitting a pair of long 3-pointers about a minute apart plus a pair of free throws that in part took an 11-point deficit all the way down to four. The Wolves would then cut it to two, giving them a chance for the tie with seconds left.

Highlight of the Night

This one didn’t go the Wolves way, but it actually turned out to be the difference. With three seconds left in the third quarter, Dante Cunningham narrowly missed a put-back slam off a Kevin Martin 3-point attempt. Ryan Hollins snagged the rebound, hit Jamal Crawford on an outlet pass, and Crawford drained a 51-foot half court shot as time expired. The put-back slam would have tied the game at 82-82. The 3-pointer made it an 85-80 game heading into the fourth.

The Numbers Game

  • Kevin Martin recorded his 10,000th career point during Monday’s game at Staples Center.

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  • Kevin Love became the first player in NBA history to record 19 rebounds, seven assists and four 3-pointers in a single game.

  • Nikola Pekovic opened up the night with a 7-of-8 performance in the first half, good for 17 points.

  • Minnesota trailed by 11 with 3:22 left in the second quarter, but they chipped way thanks to a 16-6 over the final minutes of the half. Pekovic had nine of those points, Love had four and Martin had three.

  • The Clippers’ bench shot 9-of-16 in the first half

  • The Wolves finished with a 15-12 advantage on the fast break and a 15-11 edge in second-chance points. The Clippers held a 56-52 advantage in the paint.

  • The Wolves had 16 more field goal attempts than the Clippers in this ballgame. L.A. shot 55.0 percent; Minnesota shot 41.1 percent.


  • Quote of the Night

    “We fought back the entire game. Like I mentioned, you’ve got to have a short memory win or lose in this league. We’re 1/10th of the way, not even, into the season. You’ve just got to move on, and that’s a team we look at that’s ahead of us. We’ve just go to try and get better tomorrow. — Wolves forward Kevin Love

    Looking Ahead

    The Timberwolves have an off day on Tuesday as they travel back to Minnesota from Los Angeles. They’ll host the Cleveland Cavaliers at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports North and 830 WCCO-AM on Wednesday, have a practice/travel day on Thursday and then face the Nuggets in Denver at 7 p.m. on Friday on ESPN and 830 WCCO-AM. They’ll face Boston on Saturday night back at Target Center.


    For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com