Wolves’ Towns double-doubles in loss to league-best Clippers
MINNEAPOLIS — Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers burst into Minnesota Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau's postgame press conference, hollering “Can you come on! I'm out here waiting!” to his longtime friend and former assistant.
“That's what happens when you win,” a chuckling Thibodeau said.
Rivers would know.
Blake Griffin had 20 points and 11 rebounds and DeAndre Jordan had 18 points and 16 boards to lead the Clippers to their sixth straight victory, 119-105 on Saturday night.
Chris Paul had 19 points and eight assists and J.J. Redick scored 18 points for the Clippers (9-1), who have the best record in the NBA. Los Angeles shot 52.6 percent and outscored the Timberwolves 21-10 in transition.
“This is the best team I've had here,” Rivers said. “But we got to keep doing it. We've got to keep getting better and performing. But this is a heck of a basketball team.”
Karl-Anthony Towns had 24 points and 10 rebounds and Ricky Rubio had seven points, six assists and six rebounds in his return from a five-game absence for Minnesota. Andrew Wiggins scored 22 points, but shot just 8 of 24.
“We had to work for our shots,” Wiggins said. “They clogged the paint up, switching everything, contesting every shot. They made it hard on us.”
The Clippers are off to their best start in franchise history and have so far exhibited all the qualities of a team that can make a deep playoff run. Once a weakness, the bench has been a strength this season. And they entered the game as by far the best defensive team in the league, allowing a paltry 90.4 points per game.
After slugging it out with Oklahoma City on Friday night, Los Angeles put the clamps on the young and athletic Timberwolves, who entered the game with the most explosive first-quarter offense in the league. The Clippers outscored Minnesota 34-21 in the period, holding the Wolves to 39 percent shooting and forcing four turnovers, and they never looked back.
“There are some good things, but to beat a team that's rolling like that, we have to obviously play a lot better than we did,” Thibodeau said.
Clippers: Defensive stopper Luc Mbah a Moute scored 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting. . . . Redick hit 2 of 7 3-pointers, extending his streak to 66 straight games with at least one made from long distance, the longest active streak in the league. . . . F Wes Johnson did not play because of a sore heel. He was injured on Friday night in Oklahoma City after a blocked shot.
Timberwolves: Thibodeau fell to 8-9 in his career against Rivers. . . . F Brandon Rush was inactive and has not played in the last three games.
The Wolves went to the Hack-a-Jordan strategy just over midway through the fourth quarter, with Cole Aldrich fouling him on three straight possessions to get Jordan to the line. As Aldrich headed to the bench 30 seconds later, Jordan gave his former teammate a playful shove off the court.
The strategy did not work, either. The big man hit 10 of 16 foul shots in the never-ending fourth quarter.
“I'm confident up there. I've got a routine,” Jordan said. “I've got everything I need and I'm just going to go up there and shoot.”
Griffin entered the game needing 17 points to join an exclusive club with 9,000 career points, 4,000 rebounds and 1,500 assists. Griffin got it on a free throw in the fourth quarter. He became the fastest player to reach that plateau since Larry Bird.
“It's an honor to be mentioned in that category, but Larry went on to have quite a bit more,” Griffin said. “That's the ultimate goal, having a career like that. It's cool to have a start like that, but that's not the end goal, a goal by any means.”
Clippers: Head back home to face Brooklyn on Monday as they continue a stretch of four games in six nights.
Timberwolves: Host the Lakers on Sunday in the 31st home back-to-back in franchise history, but first to occur on Saturday and Sunday nights.
- Andrew Wiggins
- Blake Griffin
- Brandon Rush
- Chris Paul
- Cole Aldrich
- DeAndre Jordan
- FOX Sports North
- JJ Redick
- Karl-Anthony Towns
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Ricky Rubio