Wolves Stopped By Clippers

Clippers 126 (16-25) - Timberwolves 111 (10-33) | Staples Center

Jonah Ballow
Wolves Editor/Writer

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How it happened:
From the opening tip, the Clippers seized control of the contest with an 18-10 lead through seven minutes. Minnesota could not claw its way back into the game, eventually suffering a 126-111 defeat at the Staples Center.

At the 4:36 mark of the first period, Kevin Love was whistled for his second foul while Blake Griffin jumped out to an impressive start. Love would eventually return and produce at a high level despite the early foul trouble but Wolves center Darko Milicic was lost in the third quarter with a sprained ankle. Immediate X-Rays returned negative for Milicic, however, the big man did not step back on the floor, leaving Minnesota severely shorthanded along the frontline. Prior to the game, Nikola Pekovic was sidelined after dealing with flu-like symptoms.

In the fourth quarter with the game mostly decided, Michael Beasley was ejected following continuous arguments with the referee crew. Beasley scored 21 points in 31 minutes of game action.

The Clippers big guns all delivered on Wednesday night in front of the LA crowd. Baron Davis dropped 20 points, Eric Gordon chipped in 23, and rising star Blake Griffin led all scorers with 29 points on 10-for-21 shooting from the floor. Los Angeles improved to 16-25 (11-4 in last 15) on the season while Minnesota fell to 10-33.

“We had too many mistakes. We got outrebounded. We didn’t play hard enough. We had too many mistakes. Coach [Kurt Rambis] mentioned after the game that it starts out as a snowball and ends up as an avalanche at the end of the game because stuff keeps mounting up and it’s like a domino-effect. The Clippers are playing better basketball and they’re a team.” – Kevin Love

Leader of the Pack:
All eyes focused on the streak between two up-and-coming young power forwards tonight. Griffin’s dominant play early and Love’s struggles pointed to the rookie continuing the remarkable string of double-double games. Love powered past the two early fouls and lackluster first half by posting 16 of his 26 points and all 11 of his boards in the second half. Notching his 29th double-double of the season, the streak lives on and Love’s numbers are again impressive with 26 points and 11 rebounds tonight. Griffin fell just shy of a double-double with eight rebounds.

Notable Performance:
Luke Ridnour has been a consistent presence at the point guard spot for Minnesota. In the defeat, Ridnour posted 16 points, hitting 7-of-11 field goal attempts and dishing out five assists.

The Numbers Game:
In a rare occurrence, the No. 1 ranked rebounding team was outworked on the glass tonight. The Clippers won the battle 48-33 and took advantage of several second chance scoring opportunities, leading to the decisive victory.

Highlight to Remember:
At the three minute mark of the first quarter, Corey Brewer launched in the passing lane to snag a pass from Eric Bledsoe to Gordon. Brewer sprinted down the floor for a crushing one-handed dunk high above the rim. The Wolves shooting guard has grown accustom to highlight reel dunks at the Staples Center, most fans remember his incredible jam over Derek Fisher last season.

Looking Ahead:
The Wolves spent the night in Los Angeles and will head back to chilly Minneapolis on Thursday afternoon. Facing a full weekend to practice and rest, Minnesota’s next challenge will take place on Monday night against the Rockets at the Target Center.

For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Jonah on Twitter.