On a night marked by the fight between Nets and Celtics players, LA Clippers win a close game by six, to improve to a 9-6 record. The tension was really high at Boston, when with a little more than 30” before the finish of the first half and after Kevin Garnett was fouled by Kris Humphries, a fight started at Boston. Rondo immediately attacked Humphries pushing him off the court and it didn’t take too long before almost every player of both teams got into the fight. The result was the ejection of both of them and also Gerald Wallace. Rondo was suspended for two games.
Back to the Staples center, where the alley – hoops and the dunks were on abundance, the Clippers were glad to see Chauncey Billups make his season debut. The 15-year veteran watched his season end last February when he tore his left Achilles’ tendon. But after nine months, returned healthy and strong to give more power and scoring options for LA. Not bad at all for the five time all-star guard who finished with 7 first quarter points and 1 three-pointer.
The Game was close almost the whole way, with the Clippers finishing the first half with a slight 2 – point advantage. The game came down to the last minutes of the fourth quarter and it was tight. Minnesota was down 2 with almost one minute before the end and had possession but the Clippers locked down on D and came with the steal. On the break Paul fed DeAndre Jordan who slammed it down and got the foul. But Shved hit a clutch 3 pointer with just 24 second to go to trim the lead down to 2. But Lob City kept on going. They inbounded quickly and advanced to half court and before Minnesota was able to foul, Billups threw a long alley – hoop to Jordan who put the icing on the cake with a ferocious dunk.
Chris Paul finally had a good scoring outcome with 23 points on 7-13 shooting and also recorded 11 assists. Blake Griffin finished with 18 points and produced highlight materiel with his high flying and alley-hoop dunks. Jordan, Barnes and Crawford all finished with double digit points. As for the Timberwolves, Kevin Love scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and the rookie Alexey Shved had 17 points with 3-6 from beyond the arc.
“A great win for us in terms of getting some of our energy back and working Chauncey into the lineup. I thought everybody contributed.” said Clippers’ coach Vinnie Del Negro. Next for the LA Clippers, Saturday vs Sacramento Kings and for the Wolves, Tuesday at Philadelphia against the 76ers.
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TIMBERWOLVES Vs CLIPPERS: 109 to 97. Derrick Williams had a career-high 27 points and Michael Beasley also scored 27 as visiting Minnesota roared past Los Angeles in the fourth quarter.
Williams was 9 of 10 from the field and made all four of his 3-pointers, and scored 13 of the Timberwolves’ first 17 points in the final period.
Beasley was 11 for 15 and also scored 13 in the fourth as Minnesota (18-17) already surpassed its win total from last season. The Timberwolves outscored the Clippers 36-21 in the fourth after trailing 76-73.
Minnesota had a monumental 72-11 advantage in bench points and made 10 of 22 3-pointers compared to 2 of 11 for the Clippers.
The Clippers jumped to a 61-51 lead with seven points to open the third quarter, but Minnesota went on an 8-0 run keyed by five points from Johnson.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Ricky Rubio played against Paul for the first time this season. “Yes, but I play against him in Olympic games and I know him,” Rubio said. “He’s a tough guy. He knows how to play. He’s the key of this team.” … Coach Vinny Del Negro said the Clippers might still listen to deals before the March 15 trade deadline. … Clippers backup power forward Kenyon Martin’s bruised ribs could take a few weeks to heal, Del Negro said. … The Timberwolves’ 16 first-half assists are a season high for the opening half. … The Timberwolves return to Staples Center on Wednesday to play the Lakers before a game at Phoenix on Thursday.