NBA Recap: Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Clippers

111213-ClippersThe Los Angeles Clippers escaped with narrow a 109-107 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, thanks in large part to Kevin Love, who with tired legs, after his Timberwolves played play the back-leg of a two night trip in LA, missed a lay-up with a chance to tie the game.

The game was dominated by the Clippers, who were led by Chris Paul‘s 21 points and 11 assists and Blake Griffin‘s 25 points and 10 rebounds. Jamal Crawford added 18 points off the bench to help the Clippers cruise through the game.

The Clippers seemed to improve in the second half, until T’Wolves coach Rick Adelman decided to put on hack-a-DeAndre. Even though DeAndre Jordan scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and continue playing his amazing defense, the hack-a-DeAndre seemed to work as the Clippers’ 11-point lead shrunk to four late in the game.

Kevin Martin looks at home back with Adelman as his coach as he lead the T’Wolves with 30 points. And Love even though he missed the game-tying opportunity ended up with 23 points and 19 rebounds. Nikola Pekovic also added 25 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota, who looks like to be one of the eight teams in the Western Conference playoff picture.

Even after escaping with the victory, it looks like the Clippers are still trying to find an identity. Until they come together and learn how to finish, it will continue to look like it will be a long regretful season.

The first couple games showed that they can only get up for their big opponents. Then the road trip showed the Clippers are not a title contender just yet. What Monday showed is their biggest inadequacy yet, they can’t close out a team. For the second time in less than a week the Clippers fourth quarter has show a lack of a go-to-guy. Crawford and Paul do their best to create their outside shot. But Griffin needs to ask for the ball inside and go to the rack.

On the Clippers’ last possession Griffin let Sasha Pavolic outmuscle him and instead taking up strong and laying it in and getting fouled in the process, he went up soft and hoped he would be fouled.

TNT’s Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith have been hard on the Griffin and the Clippers. Saying they are too soft, and are not title contenders.

And I have yet to see this team, get angry. Tonight they had a chance to make a statement. Now we have to wait until Wednesday against the visiting Thunder. A victory against the Thunder will put the Clippers at 6-3 and erase this early season roller coaster.

Clippers leaders
Points: Blake Griffin, 25 points
Assists: Chris Paul, 11 assists
Rebounds; DeAndre Jordan, 11 rebounds
Steals: Paul, 4 steals

Timberwolves leaders
Points: Kevin Martin, 30 points
Assists: Ricky Rubio, 10 assists
Rebounds; Nikola Pekovic, 10 rebounds
Steals: Two tied with two.

Good things
– Jamal Crawford looks really good, He is creating his shots in the fourth quarter when Clippers need him
– Chris Paul, after shooting lousy on the road, glad to have him come around
– The team beat another contender

Bad things
– Defense in parts looked like they would dominate
– Free throw shooting

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