Road reaction: Clippers 89, Timberwolves 76
Point guard Ricky Rubio slammed the ball off the basket stanchion in frustration, an epitomizing moment on a night where the Timberwolves simply couldn’t get anything going.
A week after hanging with the Western Conference’s fifth-place team, Minnesota (14-48) couldn’t at all keep up with it on the road. The Wolves fell behind early and failed to build on a brief lead gleaned in the second quarter, dropping their fifth game in the past six outings.
The Clippers (41-23) aided their effort to secure home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs in front of 19,060 fans.
1 big moment: After trailing by as many as eight points in the first quarter, Minnesota stormed back and took a 31-25 lead. But Los Angeles then went on an Austin Rivers-heavy 16-2 run to take a 41-33 lead with 4:31 left in the first half. Rivers had eight points during the jaunt.
2 top performers: Making just his third career start, rookie power forward Adreian Payne recorded his second double-double by tallying 16 points and 15 rebounds; 13 of his points came in the third quarter. Clippers big man DeAndre Jordan continued his defensive player of the year candidacy with 17 rebounds (12 defensive) and two blocks, casually adding 20 points to the party.
3 key stats: Up by 12 after three quarters, Los Angeles missed its first eight field-goal tries in the fourth. But the Wolves went 2-for-14 in the first eight minutes of the final period and thus couldn’t close the gap.
Los Angeles guard J.J. Redick hit his first three 3-point attempts to score nine of his game-high 26 in the opening 3 minutes, 43 seconds. Redick averages 2.6 points in the first three minutes of games, tied for second in the NBA.
Justin Hamilton, claimed off waivers Thursday, made his Minnesota debut and became the 23rd Timberwolves player to check into a game this season — a franchise record.
Said: "This team played last night. We’ve got to make them defend for more than 6 or 7 seconds." — Wolves assistant Sam Mitchell on Minnesota’s propensity for shooting early in the shot clock, which hurt the Wolves on a 37.3-percent shooting night.
Seen: Jordan is known for his posterizing dunks, but he wound up on the wrong end of one with 10:14 left in the third quarter Monday. Payne threw one down with Jordan in his face, drawing a foul and making the subsequent free throw for a 3-point play.
Injury report: Forward Kevin Garnett rested as the Wolves commenced a four-game road trip. Payne started in his place. Shabazz Muhammad (ruptured finger ligament, out for the season), Anthony Bennett (sprained right ankle, won’t play on the road trip) and Robbie Hummel (broken right hand) all remained sidelined.
Next: Minnesota’s away swing continues with a 9 p.m. clash Wednesday at Phoenix. The Wolves play Friday at Oklahoma City and Sunday at San Antonio before returning home next Monday against the Nets.
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