The Minnesota Timberwolves fought to the bitter against the Los Angeles Clippers but unfortunately it wasn’t enough. Clippers Jared Dudley hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 38 seconds remaining in overtime and Chris Paul added five free throws in the final 19 seconds to seal the Wolves fate.
The Los Angeles Clippers won 120-116 Sunday night.
Kevin Love had a season-high 45 points and tied a season best with 19 rebounds for the Timberwolves and Nikola Pekovic had a career-high 34 points and 14 rebounds.
Kevin Martin scored 16 points after averaging 29 in the Timberwolves’ other two games against the Clippers — both narrow losses as well and point guard Ricky Rubio played 38 minutes without scoring, but had 12 assists.
Blake Griffin scored 32 points and 10 rebounds and was an unbelievable 10 for 11 from the free throw line but fouled out with 4:08 left in OT. The Clippers have now extended their winning streak to a season-best five games while beating the Timberwolves for the eighth straight time, their longest current streak against any opponent.
Jamal Crawford had 22 points for Los Angeles. Paul finished with 19 points and 13 assists.
Matt Barnes, in just his second game back following an eye injury, was ejected with 56 seconds left in the third quarter after committing a flagrant 2 foul against Love on a drive to the basket with the Clippers leading 77-75. Love sank both free throws, and then added a go-ahead 3-pointer after Minnesota retained possession following the flagrant foul.
Minnesota was leading 106-102 before the Clippers forced OT. Crawford made a driving layup and a dunk after Paul forced Martin into a turnover. Pekovic then missed an 11-footer and a 20-footer in the final 2 seconds of regulation.
Pekovic had a chance to redeem himself, but missed a 5-foot baseline hook shot and Paul canned two free throws at the other end to seal the victory.
Crawford ended the third quarter with a buzzer-beating 3, cutting Minnesota’s lead to 85-83. Reserve Darren Collison scored the Clippers’ first nine points in the fourth, and all that got them was a one-point deficit with 8:37 to play.
Griffin powered the Clippers to a 56-54 halftime lead with 20 points, offsetting 22 points by Love — the second straight game in which Love had at least 20 in the first half.
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who came in leading the league in field goal percentage, played just 9 1/2 minutes in the first half after picking up his third foul with 10:15 left in the second quarter.