Clippers edge T-Wolves with Thornton's help
Al Thornton scored 31 points and Baron Davis made a clinching layup with 8.5 seconds remaining after missing his first nine shots to help the Los Angeles Clippers beat Minnesota 91-87 Monday night, extending the Timberwolves' losing streak to 13 games.
Davis' streak of 468 consecutive regular-season games with at least one field goal was in jeopardy until he drove the lane for a layup after dribbling the ball for at least 10 seconds. He finished with two points and six assists in 23 minutes.
The last time the 11-year veteran point guard failed to make a field goal was Feb. 25, 2002 - against the Timberwolves - when he played 12 minutes for the Charlotte Hornets and missed both shots before leaving after one quarter with a bruised chest. His other 11 games without a field goal were during his rookie season in 1999-00.
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Davis, who committed two turnovers in a 1:17 span on bad passes early in the third quarter, was benched by coach Mike Dunleavy with 8:40 left in the period and didn't return to the floor until 7:10 remained in the game. By then, the Clippers had turned a five-point deficit into an 81-77 lead with former Timberwolves guard Sebastian Telfair leading the way.
Rookie Jonny Flynn led Minnesota with 17 points, one of five players in double digits, and Al Jefferson added 13 points and 13 rebounds. The Timberwolves have been held under 88 points in six consecutive games since their 145-105 loss at Golden State on Nov. 9.
Minnesota hasn't won a game under new coach Kurt Rambis since beating the still-winless New Jersey Nets by two points on opening night, and has matched the worst 14-game start in the franchise's 21-year history (1993-94). The T'Wolves' longest losing skid was 16 games in 1991-92, and they are one loss away from matching their longest of last season.
Minnesota took a lead into the fourth quarter for the first time this season, albeit a one-point margin. Telfair opened the quarter with back-to-back jumpers from 13 and 18 feet to give Los Angeles the lead for good and Thornton's dunk with 6:17 remaining gave the Clippers their biggest lead, 85-77. Minnesota got no closer than two on a 3-pointer by Ryan Gomes with 1:05 to play.
Clippers guard Eric Gordon sat out his eighth straight game because of a groin strain, but was on the bench in uniform after scrimmaging with his teammates on Sunday. He is hoping to play on Wednesday when the team plays in his hometown of Indianapolis.
The victory was Mike Dunleavy's 200th as Clippers coach during the regular season - against 307 losses - and put him within two wins of 600 overall. He is one of only four coaches to guide the Clippers to the playoffs during their 26 years in Los Angeles, including Larry Brown and Bill Fitch. ... Clippers TV play-by-play man Ralph Lawler and analyst Michael Smith were back behind the microphone following a one-game suspension by the Fox Sports Prime Ticket network on Friday. They were reprimanded for some off-the-cuff remarks they made on the air last Wednesday at Memphis about Grizzlies Iranian-born center Hamed Haddadi.