Clippers 90, Timberwolves 77

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchangeJanuary 18, 2013


MINNEAPOLIS -- In an attempt to change his team's results, acting Timberwolves coach Terry Porter drew up a new starting lineup for Thursday's game with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Point guard Ricky Rubio got his first start of the season and Derrick Williams received his first start since mid-November.
Unfortunately for Minnesota, not much else changed.
Jamal Crawford scored 22 off the Clippers' deep bench and Blake Griffin added 20 points to lead Los Angeles to a 90-77 victory at Target Center.
Caron Butler added 12 points, Ronny Turiaf 11 and Matt Barnes 10 for the Clippers, who used a 9-0 first-quarter run to take the lead for good.
The banged-up Wolves, playing without Kevin Love for the foreseeable future, sustained their fifth straight loss and their ninth in 12 games. And the injury news only got worse, with center Nikola Pekovic (quad contusion) and guard Alexey Shved (ankle) leaving the game in the second half.
Luke Ridnour led the Wolves with 21 points and five assists. Andrei Kirilenko added 15 points, and Derrick Williams had 10.
The Clippers, playing a third straight game without All-Star point guard Chris Paul, earned consecutive win No. 3. The Clippers have won six of their last seven games as they battle Oklahoma City for the best record in the West.
Los Angeles (31-9) tried to put the Wolves away all night. They finally did at the start of the fourth quarter. Up by five after three quarters, Los Angeles used a 9-3 run to go up by 11, and the Wolves (16-20) never really threatened again.
Until then, Minnesota managed to keep it close. After the Wolves trailed by 12 midway through the second quarter, Ridnour had five points in an 11-2 run that pulled Minnesota within three.
The Clippers pushed the lead back to 10 early in the third quarter, but Ridnour scored five as Minnesota pulled within 58-54 with 4:40 left in the quarter. The Wolves trailed by five as the third quarter ended, but they could never come back all the way.
The Clippers' bench held a 45-23 scoring edge over the Minnesota reserves, and Los Angeles had sizeable advantages in paint scoring (50-30) and second-chance points (20-13).
NOTES: Paul, who is with the team on the trip, is out due to a bruised right kneecap. He remains listed as day-to-day. Still, Paul -- along with Griffin -- were named starters on the Western Conference All-Star team, the second straight berth for both. "They deserve it," Clippers coach Vinnie Del Negro said. "Blake is having a fantastic year; you've seen a lot of growth in his game. And Chris as well." ... Butler played despite injuring his right foot in the Clippers' victory at Houston on Tuesday. ... Wolves coach Rick Adelman missed his sixth straight game to be with his wife, who is hospitalized in the Twin Cities area. He has been in contact with coaches and players, but his return date has not yet been sent. ... Wolves guard Malcolm Lee had his second surgery in three days Wednesday, when he had his right hip repaired. He had cartilage damage in his right knee fixed Monday. Lee will miss the rest of the season. ... The Wolves are expected to sign swingman Mickael Gelabale on Friday, once Lazar Hayward's 10-day contract expires.