clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Clippers tame Timberwolves, win 110-105

In a very bizarre game, Chris Paul triumphed over the Timberwolves, this time getting contributions from up and down the roster. The Clippers had a big lead, blew it, and then came back against the Wolves in the fourth quarter to squeak out a close one.

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

What. A. Game. This contest somehow contained numerous Ricky Rubio jumpers, several beautiful pick and rolls between Austin Rivers and Glen Davis, JJ Redick getting ejected, and up to four airballed jump shots. I am not sure how to even describe this game, but I guess I will return to the beginning and try to make some sense of it.

The first quarter played out the way many people might have expected. Chris Paul was in full on Point God mode, picking apart the weak Timberwolves defense with his dribble, and complementing his passing with several tough jumpers. He had 10 points and eight assists in the first quarter. Absolutely incredible. Without Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin, the Timberwolves featured Andrew Wiggins and Gorgui Dieng to mixed results. Jordan Hamilton, still on his 10 day contract, played solid defense on Wiggins and did some nice things on offense as well. Dieng on the other hand made several moves in the post and drained a couple jumpers, keeping the Wolves in it. The Clippers were up 36-18 at one point, but the Wolves scored five straight to end the quarter, narrowing the deficit to 13.

Sadly, this run portended the 2nd quarter accurately, as the Wolves scored another eight in a row on the Clippers bench, who couldn't get stops and weren't making shots on the other end. Jamal Crawford mixed in a couple jumpers with some bad misses and terrible defense, though he did have a tough matchup with the much bigger and stronger Wiggins. Nobody else on the Clippers could connect either, and the entire unit was simply awful. The starters came back in relatively quickly and were able to start scoring, but their defense was almost as lacking as that of the bench. The Wolves kept getting straight to the hoop and drew numerous fouls, a trend that would continue.

The third quarter is where things began to get strange, as Spencer Hawes was involved in a series of unfortunate events that I had in my notes as a "Hawes catastrophe". He got his shot blocked by Dieng and then missed three open jump shots in under a minute of game time. On the other end, the Wolves were unable to get much going due to stiffer Clipper defense and some missed shots, but continued getting to the free throw line. DeAndre Jordan continued his dominance, snagging several offensive rebounds, driving Dieng from the game with two loose ball fouls, and completing an and-one off a put back. Hamilton slipped on defense a couple times letting Wiggins cut to the basket, but made up for it by draining a 3 pointer. At one point, Paul looked visibly annoyed after a defensive failure, and followed it up by knocking down a stare-down three in Gary Neal's face. The third quarter ended with the Clippers down one and without Jamal Crawford, who left the game with a leg contusion after halftime.

The Clippers' 2nd unit astonishingly rose to the challenge without Jamal, as Glen Davis and Austin Rivers keyed a strong bench effort in the first half of the fourth quarter. Both played solid defense, and Rivers got to the hoop both in the halfcourt and on the fastbreak. When he wasn't attacking the rim, Austin was feeding Big Baby perfect pocket passes on the pick and roll, leading to several more layups. Despite tough defense, the Wolves were able to keep up by getting to the free throw line, which was the only way they scored in the 4th (they had one field goal but took 17 free throws). Chris Paul continued his unbelievable level of play, calmly sinking a jumper or making a play whenever the Wolves threatened.

After another great game, DJ almost blew it, lofting a terrible three pointer with a few minutes left when Rubio faked an intentional foul, and then missed two free throws. He capped it off by throwing away the ball after a great defensive stop and rebound. However, Hawes made a clutch corner trey after being awful most of the night, and then did a great double team on Wiggins with Rivers, forcing a turnover (Wiggins may have been fouled on the play). The weirdness then increased when Redick started barking at the officials for unclear reasons and got ejected with two quick technicals. Flip Saunders picked up one as well, and Rubio missed the free throw. DJ then made one of two foul shots, but a dumb foul by Dahntay Jones (who played for only a few seconds) gave Neal two freebies. CP3 then sunk a ridiculously difficult shot over KG, but Neal countered with two more free throws. Paul missed a layup with 15 seconds left, but Neal missed two threes and Jones made a couple foul shots to ice the game.

Individual Notes

Injuries: Blake Griffin was out for the Clippers, as were Robbie Hummel, Shabazz Muhammad, and Anthony Bennett for the Wolves. Right before the game, Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic were ruled out for the T-Wolves, as was Matt Barnes for the Clippers. Thus, both squads were missing key players tonight.

Free Throws: The Timberwolves took 35 free throws to the Clippers 19, and were only outfouled 26 to 22. The Wolves did attack the basket more than the Clippers, but there were still a couple suspect calls, especially in the fourth quarter. Then again, Wiggins was hacked on a couple post ups and didn't get calls, so some of it evened out.

Point God: Chris Paul was amazing yet again, putting up 26 and 14 on 60% shooting, and making just about every big play possible. While he may not have the shooting prowess of Steph Curry or the unholy athleticism of Russell Westbrook, it is still hard for me to take any other point guard over CP3.

DJ getting boards: DeAndre had 18 rebounds, making it eight games in a row with 15+ boards. He was also robbed of several more by loose ball foul calls on the defense, who resorted to grabbing him many times.

Ralph and Mike's Weird Obsession: As Justin and I were discussing in the game thread, Ralph and Mike spent an inordinate amount of time talking about Wolves rookie Adreian Payne. This was odd because Payne has not been very good this season (though he was fine tonight), and is also quite old for a rookie at 24. There seemed like very little reason to talk about him so much, especially with Andrew Wiggins on the same court. Wiggins looked very good, though he got caught up on screens a lot on defense and had some bad shot selections on offense. He will likely be extremely good in the long run.

Quiet Ricky: Ricky Rubio put up a crazy 18/12/11 line with only two turnovers, but it didn't seem like his night was that big. Rubio is a terrific player, one of the most underrated in the NBA, and the difference he has made to this Wolves squad is unbelievable. If he could ever get a consistent three point shot down he would be one of the top players in the NBA, but his overall game puts him pretty high up there even without one.

Dougie has a big night: Austin Rivers may have had one of the best games of his pro career, scoring 13 points with 4 assists on efficient shooting and playing inspired defense. It was a complete game for Baby Rivers, who overcame a relatively invisible 2nd quarter stint with a very strong 2nd half performance. If he continues to play like this, keeping him for next year seems like a very good idea.

Jordan Hamilton: After playing for 3 minutes in one game this year, Hamilton was thrust into a starting role, and he performed well over 25 minutes, scoring 10 points and playing solid defense. He seems like a useful defender and rebounder, and even contributed some small things, like a few nice passes, that I wasn't really expecting. He should get another 10 day contract, and I think odds are decent that he will be signed for the rest of the year.