Griffin helps Clippers beat Wolves for 13th straight time
Nov. 30, 2015
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Blake Griffin and Chris Paul made big plays down the stretch to help the Los Angeles Clippers continue their domination of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Griffin scored 12 of his 26 points in the final 6:32, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out seven assists on Sunday to lead the Clippers to a 107-99 victory that put them back over the .500 mark.
Los Angeles, coming off a 111-90 home victory over New Orleans on Friday, has won consecutive games for the first time since its four-game winning streak to open the season.
"It's not always going to be pretty, but we have to pile up wins — especially in this Western Conference," said Paul, who had 20 points and nine assists. "The team executed pretty well. First and foremost, we made shots."
The Clippers shot 52 percent and have won 49 consecutive games in which they finished at least 50 percent from the field.
Kevin Garnett, back with the Wolves for a final curtain call with the team he began his stellar career with in 1995-96, played 15 scoreless minutes after getting into early foul trouble and was 0 for 5 from the field.
"That didn't disrupt anything," interim coach Sam Mitchell said. "For what we need K.G. to do, and the minutes that he's going to play, it didn't hurt us at all."
Garnett went to the bench with 5:37 left in the first quarter after picking up his third foul. The Timberwolves led 15-9 at that point, and were trailing 36-30 when the 15-time All-Star reported back in with 4:06 left in the first half.
"Kevin's not trying to do what he used to do," said Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who won an NBA championship with Garnett in Boston in 2008. "He doesn't shoot much now. He's really become a role player that's just trying to help the young guys, so it was nothing more than that."
J.J. Redick scored 18 points as the Clippers beat Minnesota for the 13th consecutive time and seventh straight at Staples Center. The Timberwolves' last victory over the Clippers was on March 5, 2012, when Kevin Love had 39 points and 17 rebounds in a 95-94 win at Target Center.
The Clippers tied their longest winning streak against any opponent in franchise history. They had a 13-game streak against Utah that ended on Wednesday with a 102-91 loss.
"That's a very good basketball team over there, and they're going to be in the playoffs," Mitchell said. "They've got two All-Stars in Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and they made shots at the end."
Former Timberwolves small forward Luc Mbah a Moute, who signed with the Clippers in September as a free agent, made his first start of the season and had seven points in 24 minutes after playing 14 games as a reserve. The eight-year veteran from UCLA started 61 games last season with Philadelphia.
Andrew Wiggins scored 21 points for the Wolves, who had won their previous three games. Karl-Anthony Towns, the first overall pick in the draft, had 17 points and eight rebounds.
HOLDING THE FORT
Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio sat out his second straight game because of soreness in his left ankle. Former UCLA product Zach LaVine started in his place, missing his first six shots and finishing 6 for 15 with 18 points and seven assists.
"Any time a starter is out, it's difficult to win. That's just the NBA," Mitchell said. "But I think Zach is growing up before our eyes at that position. Today he missed some shots, and that's going to happen."
TOUGH TO WATCH
An ugly first half at both ends of the court ended with Los Angeles leading 48-37 and the teams even in turnovers with nine apiece. Clippers center DeAndre Jordan shot two airballs from the free throw line 20.2 seconds before intermission. He finished with nine points and nine rebounds, after averaging 13.5 points and 18.0 boards over the previous four meetings between the teams.
Timberwolves: Garnett still needs nine points to reach the 26,000 mark. His former Celtics and Nets teammate, Clippers F Paul Pierce, is 23 away from joining him on that list. ... Towns is the only player to start all 17 games for the Wolves. He entered Sunday averaging 14.2 points, second among rookies behind Jahlil Okafor's 18.0 per game with Philadelphia. . Minnesota forward Nemanja Bjelica had 10 points in 22 minutes after missing four games because of a bruised left knee.
Clippers: Mbah a Moute was the fourth player this season to start at the 3 spot for Rivers, who has used eight different starting lineups. The others were Pierce, Lance Stephenson and Wesley Johnson. ... Jamal Crawford played 15 scoreless minutes, missing all four shots.
Timberwolves: Host Orlando on Tuesday night.
Clippers: Host Portland on Monday night.