Six weeks ago, the Los Angeles Clippers gave the Minnesota Timberwolves a thumping, and as a result, the Wolves seem to have changed their season around, now winning seven of the past eight games, including four in a row on the road.
Minnesota started the game with 26-16 lead after the opening quarter and didn't let up, taking a 94-86 victory Monday afternoon. Center Al Jefferson led the way, scoring 20 points to go alongside his season high tying 17 rebounds. Craig Smith was able to chip in with 20 points and eight rebounds himself as the Wolves continue with their recent success.
“We’re headed in the right direction, and that’s the whole key,” swing-man Mike Miller said. “We’re finding ways to get up and down the court a little bit more and we’re sharing the ball a lot better. When you’re sharing the ball and you’ve got guys who can put the ball in the hole, it makes it a lot more difficult for the other team. We didn’t play as well as we wanted to today, but it was good enough to win the game.”
On the opposite side, the Clippers were even more shorthanded for the game, something which didn't seem that possible due to all the injuries. Center Marcus Camby got hurt Saturday night joining Baron Davis, Chris Kaman, Zach Randolph, Mike Taylor, and Jason Hart in civilian clothing.
Without Randolph and Kaman, the Clippers big man rotation was already thin, and losing Camby allowed the Timberwolves to score 58 of their 94 points in the paint.
Coach Mike Dunleavy was also forced to use his 15th different starting unit on the year.
"It’s tough because we do not have all of our players on the court,” Dunleavy said. “When you do, you know exactly who you are going to. Some of the guys we have out there have not been in that position, but I was pleased with our effort. They played hard, kept themselves in the game, and gave us a chance to win.”
Clippers though, had some good promise coming out of this game due to the solid play from rookies Eric Gordon (25 points) and DeAndre Jordan (8 points, 10 rebounds, 6 blocks). Steve Novak also continued his hot streak, hitting three out of six attempts behind the 3-point line, and was six for 10 overall from the field for his 18 points.