Erik "T-Bo" Thibault
The Minnesota Timberwolves were held to two points in the game’s last three minutes and lost 96-90 to the L.A. Clippers in Rick Adelman’s first game since his leave of absence January 8th.
“They played their tails off,” Adelman said. “Every other game we’re battling and we’re in it.”
The Clippers won its fourth straight game over the Timberwolves and were led by Blake Griffen’s 26 points and 13 rebounds while receiving big fourth-quarter baskets from Caron Butler, who scored 17, and Jamal Crawford, who added 19.
“It seems like they start getting a little bit down and they try to do too much themselves and not as a team,” Adelman said. “We have to play as a team at both ends and you have to trust your teammates.”
The free-falling Wolves lost its fifth straight game, its 10th in 11 games and the first game of a six-game homestand.
“We have a nice flow and then a couple things happen and we continue to make mistakes,” Adelman said.
Early, the Wolves tried establishing an inside game Nikola Pekovic, returning from injury, and he scored eight of the Wolves’ 25 first-quarter points and finished 17 points and 12 rebounds.
In addition, Greg Stiemsma stirred the pot in the second quarter setting several hard screens on Matt Barnes causing Barnes to react with a punch to Stiemsma’s throat and a prompt ejection after video review.
Seconds later, Stiemsma lodged a firm forearm to Grant Hill’s back while battling for a rebound. This altercation led to two technical fouls on Ronnie Turiaf and Caron Butler.
The Timberwolves were outscored 42-34 and outrebounded 45-38 including two crucial offensive rebounds in the game’s last minute.
“I thought we actually defended pretty good,” Adelman said. “We needed to get possession.”
-The Clippers and Timberwolves continued to dwell in the free throw shooting cellar shooting a combined 42 for 63 (66 percent).
-Clippers led in second-chance points 23-13
-Derrick Williams had five personal fouls in and didn’t play the last 22 minutes.