Five things to take from Clippers’ 99-79 victory over Timberwolves

The Clippers' Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, middle, splits the defense of Minnesota's Andrew Wiggins, left, and Ricky Rubio during Wednesday's game. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

Luc Mbah a Moute of the Clippers, center, tries to drive through Andrew Wiggins (22) and Ricky Rubio of the Timberwolves during Wednesday’s game in Minnesota/AP photo by Ann Heisenfelt


– The Clippers continued their stingy ways on defense in this one. Not only did they hold the Timberwolves to 79 points, the Clippers held them to just 34.8-percent shooting. The Clippers have now given up an average of just 88.2 points over their past four games – all victories. They also helped harass Minnesota into 16 turnovers while committing just eight of their own.

– Speaking of defensive ferocity, the Clippers blocked nine shots. DeAndre Jordan had three blocks and Wes Johnson, Jeff Green and Cole Aldrich had two apiece. By contrast, the T’Wolves had one measly block. As for Aldrich, he is from Bloomington, Minn., so he was playing at home and he had family in the stands.

– This was the third game of Blake Griffin’s four-game suspension. He will sit out Thursday night’s game at Oklahoma City and will then be eligible to play Sunday when the Clippers host the Washington Wizards at 12:30 p.m. at Staples Center. The Clippers (47-27) are 30-14 without Griffin, who has not played since Christmas because of two injuries and now this suspension for punching a team equipment staffer in January.

– Johnson shot 3 of 6 for the Clippers, which means he has shot 13 of 20 (65 percent) over his past four games. For someone who has been so up and down with his shot this season, that’s a very good sign.

– The hard-playing Chris Paul didn’t shoot particularly well – he was 6 of 16 overall, 1 of 4 from 3-point range – but he still scored a game-high 20 points. More importantly, he doled out 16 assists and also tied DeAndre Jordan for team-high honors in rebounds with eight.

T’Wolves coach Sam Mitchell rips team after lopsided loss to Clippers

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins (22) goes up for a shot against Los Angeles Clippers forward Jeff Green (8) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Minneapolis, Wednesday, March 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

Andrew Wiggins of the Timberwolves goes up for a shot while being guard by the Clippers’ Jeff Green during Wednesday’s game at Minnesota/AP photo by Ann Heisenfelt

You might say Minnesota Timberwolves interim coach Sam Mitchell was just a bit upset after his team was routed 99-79 by the Clippers on Wednesday night in Minnesota. Afterward, Mitchell did not pull any punches about the play of his team.

“Worst game,” Mithcell said to reporters. “They didn’t set screens, they didn’t pass the ball. I didn’t even recognize us at the start of the game. They still have to learn how to play basketball. They still have to grow up. They played a team that’s a real playoff team tonight. You saw what happened, so we’re not ready yet.”

He was finished.

“I wish they would stop reading the newspapers, stop talking to their friends because we’re not good enough to show up and play,” Mitchell said of his talented, yet young team that is now just 25-50. ” That was the worst game we played all year.”

The Clippers (47-27) held the T’Wolves to 34.5 percent shooting. Minnesota also had 16 turnovers to just eight for the Clippers, and the T’Wolves shot just 64.7 percent (11 of 17) from the free-throw line. Their leading scorer on the season, Andrew Wiggins, scored just seven points on 3 of 9 shooting. Wiggins, who averages 20.7 points, also had six turnovers. Guard Zach LaVine started, played a little more than 22 minutes and did not score, missing all six of his field-gal attempts.

Minnesota trailed by 33 points (92-59) with 6:45 left to play.

Well, Mitchell was hot, to be sure. His rookie center, Karl-Anthony Towns, wasn’t too pleased, either.

“I think it is (the worst game) because we came off a great win and we had the momentum on our side and we just came in and came out flat,” Towns said.

Minnesota was coming off a 121-116 victory over the hapless Phoenix Suns.


Defense was the key to Clippers’ fourth consecutive victory

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Shabazz Muhammad, center, tries to get to the basket under pressure from Los Angeles Clippers forward Jeff Green, left, and guard Austin Rivers during the first half. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

Jeff Green, left, of the Clippers and teammate Austin Rivers guard Shabazz Muhammad of the Minnesota Timbervolves during Wednesday’s game in Minnesota/AP photo by Ann Heisenfelt


Chris Paul knew only too well his Clippers had a rather mediocre game offensively Wednesday night when they played at Minnesota. But another fine defensive showing helped overcome that in the Clippers’ 99-79 victory, their fourth in a row.

“Yeah, if you think about it, we didn’t even have one of our great offensive nights,” Paul said. “Me and J.J. (Redick) missed a lot of great looks and we still were able to get the separation that we did because our defense was so consistent and just kept us in the game.”

The Clippers blocked nine shots with DeAndre Jordan getting three and Cole Aldrich, Wes Johnson and Jeff Green two apiece.

The Clippers (47-27) held Minnesota to 34.5 percent shooting, 34.8 (8 of 23) from 3-point range. The T’Wolves also failed at the free-throw line, making just 64.7 percent (11 of 17).

The Clippers shot 44 percent overall, just 29 percent (9 of 31) from deep. They shot 88.9 percent from the free-throw line, though, with Jordan (1 of 3) the only one who missed; Paul was 7 of 7.

Paul shot just 6 of 16 from the field, 1 of 4 from distance. Redick was 6 of 15 and 4 of 12.



Last 2 Minutes report: referee Lauren Holtkamp made right calls in Clippers loss to T’Wolves

J.J. Redick

J.J. Redick/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


The NBA’s Last 2 Minutes report from Wednesday’s game between the Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves won 108-102 by the Timberwolves shows that referee Lauren Holtkamp made the correct call when the Clippers’ J.J. Redick was whistled for fouling Ricky Rubio as Rubio was being double-teamed by Redick and Chris Paul with 20.6 seconds left in the game.

Holtkamp subsequently assessed Paul a technical foul when he clapped his hands hard in Holtkamp’s direction after the foul was called on Redick. The Clippers were down by just two points (102-100) at the time. That also was deemed the correct call by the league.




DeAndre Jordan says Clippers were a step slow ‘on everything’ in loss to Timberwolves

DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


It just wasn’t the Clippers’ night Wednesday in their 108-102 loss to the visiting – and lowly – Minnesota Timberwolves.

Austin Rivers was ejected in the second quarter after getting two technical fouls called on him for arguing a non-call, Chris Paul took a technical with 20.6 seconds left in the game and his team trailing by two points. They were factors in the setback, but DeAndre Jordan said it was a lot more than that.

“We don’t want to get fourth-quarter technicals, Chris knows that,” Jordan said post-game. “But we made so many mistakes prior to that. Our defense was terrible tonight. I thought we were a step slow on everything. The starting five, that is on us to come out ready to play. And also, the second unit, we got in a weird situation with Austin (being ejected), but that is no excuse. We have to come out and compete and we cannot take teams lightly.”

The Clippers (32-17) had beaten the Timberwolves 14 consecutive times. Moreover, the Timberwolves (15-36) entered having lost five consecutive games, seven of eight and 16 of 18.

But like they say, on any given night …

Five things to take from Clippers’ 108-102 loss to Timberwolves

J.J. Redick of the Clippers guards Tayshaun Prince of the Timberwolves on Wednesday at Staples Center/Staff photo by David Crane


– Although this loss was a very unlikely one for the Clippers, as the Timberwolves have one of the worst records (15-36) in the league, it’s also understandable because there is a law of averages to consider. The Clippers had gone an almost-unbelievable 15-3 without Blake Griffin before this game and sometimes a team on a run like that will lose to an vastly inferior team. That’s not to mention that with young talent like Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns and Zach LaVine, the Timberwolves are going to beat good teams on a given night. They scored 31, 17 and 17 points, respectively.

– Technical fouls hurt the Clippers in this one. Austin Rivers took two for arguing a non-call in the second quarter and was ejected. Chris Paul took one with 20.6 seconds to play for arguing an “overt clap” when J.J. Redick was called for a foul on Ricky Rubio as Redick and Paul were double-teaming him. Paul said he knows he can’t be getting fourth-quarter technical fouls and that he apologized to his team after the game. The technical assessed him came from referee Lauren Holtkamp. It was in February 2015 that Paul was fined $25,000 by the NBA for his criticism of Holtkamp after a loss at Cleveland.

– Coach Doc Rivers was honest after the game. He said he thought his team lacked focus from the opening tip. “I didn’t think we had any intensity into the game,” he said. That showed defensively, several  players said. The Timberwolves shot 50.6 from the field, 47.1 (8 of 17) from 3-point range.

– It’s tough to win when one of your best shooters – Redick – goes 1 of 9 from the field. He wasn’t the only one, though. Paul Pierce shot 1 of 5 and Jamal Crawford was 5 of 15. Overall, the Clippers shot 44 percent from the field, which is not horrible. But 32 of their 75 field-goal attempts were from 3-point range, and they made only 11 of them for 34.4 percent.

DeAndre Jordan pulled down 15 rebounds, but the team as a whole only had 35, well under its season average of 42.1, which is only 24th-best in the league. Minnesota had 42 rebounds.