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Clippers Lead Start to Finish, Beat Timberwolves 122-111 On the Road

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A vintage Danilo Gallinari performance and some clutch buckets from Montrezl Harrell key an 11-point victory for the Clippers.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Minnesota Timberwolves Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Game Summary

The Clippers came out scorching in the first, making their first four shots and first three three-point attempts in a free-flowing first quarter that featured little defense from either team early. Everyone was aggressive, and consistently found the open man for easy buckets and open jumpers. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Patrick Beverley did a great job of running the offense and attacking the paint. SGA has looked especially confident in his strong play this month, and this game was no different. Gallinari was knocking down everything, and toying with the Timberwolves wing defenders. The absence of Landry Shamet in the starting lineup was buoyed by the best Garrett Temple performance in a Clippers uniform, and this strong play started early as Temple knocked down three’s and played strong defense. The Clips started 11-16 from the field and scored 42 points in the first frame to run out to a 19 point lead, 42-23.

1st Q individual stats:

Gallinari: 14 PTS, 5 REB, 1 AST

Beverley: 8 PTS, 2 AST, 2 BLK

SGA: 6 PTS, 1 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL

The second quarter was more of the same, as the bench unit came in and provided solid defensive energy along with a quick seven points from Lou Williams. The period as a whole was a lot of running through the motions, as the Clips continued to hold a 20+ point lead. Wilson Chandler provided some buckets and solid D as well. The Wolves did make a brief run after being down by as much as 25, getting it down to 18 at one point as Andrew Wiggins was scoring and Jerryd Bayless was making plays, but the Clips had answers every time. Patrick Beverley shot well early — going 3/3 from three in the first half. Another super positive point of the first half was the Clips defense of Karl Anthony-Towns, as Ivica Zubac, Montrezl Harrell, and Gallo all put in work on that end to frustrate the perennial All-Star and keep him to one made shot in the first two frames. The Clips were 10/18 from three heading into halftime (we also got a Ty Wallace sighting!), and held a 20 point lead, 75-55.

2nd Q individual stats:

Gallinari: 14 PTS, 5 REB, 2 AST

Beverley: 11 PTS, 1 REB, 4 AST

Williams: 9 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST

The third started strong for L.A. as Gallo and Temple both knocked down multiple threes early. However, the Clips lost Beverley to injury early in the frame, as he walked right to the locker room grabbing his hip. He was able to leave on his own power so hopefully he’s fine, just a little bruised. After Bev left, the wind seemed to evade the Clips sails, as the Timberwolves had multiple spurts to cut what was once as 25 point lead down to 12 with a 15-3 run. Thankfully, Lou Will was there to keep the Wolves at bay with multiple finishes at the rim and a timely and-one to get the lead back to 19. Despite some of the normal third quarter woes for L.A., the Clips led by 15, 100-85.

3rd Q individual stats:

Gallinari: 22 PTS, 8 REB, 2 AST

Williams: 18 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST

Temple: 12 PTS, 4 REB, 2 AST

Another strong start was not meant to be for L.A. as they started the fourth and final frame 0-5 from the field. The Wolves showed no quit and KAT finally came alive, feasting inside against the undersized Harrell. Bayless continued to dice up the Clips D, and Saric was able to make some timely plays to cut the lead down to 6. Turnovers and lackadaisical play was paramount throughout the first half of the final frame, and worried Clippers’ fans for a bit. Luckily, Trez stepped up in a major way, at one point scoring eight straight points, and Gallo continued to knock down jumpers. The Wolves seemed to run out of gas a bit, as the Clips finally started connecting on shots late and upped the energy. After a nasty slam from SGA to stretch the lead to 16, the Clips were in control and pulled out an 11 point victory, 122-11 in Minnesota. The Clips had only beaten the Wolves once in their last six head-to-head contests, so any win against them is a good one.

End of game stats:

Gallinari: 25 PTS, 10 REB, 4 AST

Williams: 20 PTS, 4 REB, 7 AST

Temple: 15 PTS, 4 REB, 3 AST

Beverley: 11 PTS, 2 REB, 5 AST

Zubac: 8 PTS, 6 REB, 2 AST

SGA: 10 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST

Harrell: 18 PTS, 5 REB, 4 AST

Chandler: 6 PTS, 6 REB, 1 AST

Green: 5 PTS, 6 REB, 2 STL

The Clips don’t get much of a rest, as they head to the East-leading Milwaukee Bucks arena for a game Thursday.. The Clips have sole possession of fifth place in the West, and need to keep their heads above water to avoid facing the Rockets, who are in third.

One more thing.... with this win, the Clippers finally clinched a playoff spot!! They are 45-30 with 7 games to go, and show no signs of stopping soon. Could a 50 win season be possible? It’s impossible to rule out with this incredible squad.