No word on Blake Griffin, then Clippers fall to T’Wolves

first_imgClippers coach Doc Rivers was a bit bummed out Wednesday night that the punishment for Blake Griffin had not yet been doled out by the NBA. Then things got worse when the Clippers were defeated 108-102 by the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves before a sellout crowd of 19,060 at Staples Center.The Timberwolves — just 15-36 — came in having lost five consecutive games and 14 in a row to the Clippers. But the Clippers were never in sync for any length of time, and they were had by one of the worst teams in the league.The Clippers had gone 15-3 without Griffin until this setback. Griffin has not played since Christmas night, mostly because of a quad injury. He fractured his right hand when he punched team equipment staffer Matias Testi on Jan. 23 in Toronto.Prior to Wednesday’s tip-off, Rivers was asked if it’s tough playing the waiting game regarding Griffin’s discipline. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “It was an overt clap,” said Rivers, when asked what explanation was given to him for that technical.Rubio made the technical and 1 of 2 on the personal foul for a 104-100 Timberwolves lead with 20.6 seconds left. When Redick committed a turnover and then Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns made a layup for a 106-100 lead, the Clippers’ fate had been sealed.“Yeah, I was surprised,” Paul said about getting a technical at that time.The technical was given by referee Lauren Holtkamp. Paul was fined $25,000 a year ago this month when he criticized Holtkamp after a loss at Cleveland. Paul was asked if he thought this technical might have been retribution for that.“They done got my money already,” he said. “My kid’s in private school.”Paul led the Clippers with 22 points and eight assists, Jamal Crawford scored 21 points, DeAndre Jordan had 18 points and 15 rebounds, and Wesley Johnson scored 12.Andrew Wiggins scored a game-high 31 points for Minnesota, Zach LaVine and Towns each scored 17, with Towns grabbing 12 rebounds.The drama at the end notwithstanding, the Clippers knew they didn’t lose this game because of any technical fouls.“I think it was the previous 47 (minutes),” Jordan said. “We don’t want to get fourth-quarter techs, Chris knows that. But we made so many mistakes prior to that. Our defense was terrible tonight. We were a step slow on everything.”Paul, who said he apologized to the team for the technical foul, could not agree more with Jordan.“It was our defense, plain and simple,” he said. “There was nothing more than that.”Minnesota shot 50.6 percent from the field, 47.1 (8 of 17) from 3-point range. The Clippers shot 44 percent overall, 34.4 (11 of 32) from beyond the arc.Doc Rivers said his team was off from the start.“I didn’t think we had any intensity into the game,” he said. “I thought the bench that one stretch was just about to get it going and then Austin gets thrown out, and so that kind of took some energy from them, and their rhythm.“I just didn’t think we had great focus tonight. Give them (Timberwolves) credit, though. I thought they played hard, they made shots.”Minnesota was coming off a four-point loss to the Lakers on Tuesday, which made this win even sweeter for the Timberwolves.“It was a huge win for us,” Wiggins said. “The whole team played well, we executed down the stretch and made shots. No one expected us to win this game because of the back-to-back and the way the Clippers had been rolling. Last night was a tough loss because we thought we had the game, so we came in today hungry.”center_img “Well, I don’t know,” said Rivers. “The fact that Blake’s injured, I guess, is easier in that way because he’s injured.“It would be a lot harder if he was healthy and we were waiting for a decision. That would be difficult. We would not be happy with how long this has taken. But because of the injury, I think it doesn’t push us that much.”The Clippers (32-17) and Timberwolves were tied 27-27 after one quarter. The Clippers held a slim 55-53 lead at halftime, but trailed 76-74 entering the fourth quarter after shooting just 28.6 percent (6 of 21) in the third. Clippers reserve guard Austin Rivers was ejected at 8:10 of the second quarter for barking at officials for not calling a foul on a layup he made. Rivers received one technical when he screamed, “And one.” He bellyached some more and got the second.The Clippers, who had their four-game winning streak snapped, were down by eight, 96-88, with 4:41 to play. They caught Minnesota 98-98 on a dunk by DeAndre Jordan with 1:05 left. Trailing 102-100, J.J. Redick and Chris Paul were double-teaming Ricky Rubio. Redick was called for a foul, and then Paul for a technical.last_img

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