In honor of Monday's Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, the Clippers hosted the Timberwolves in an afternoon game at Staples Center. Playing without just about everyone who could have helped them win however, they might as well have taken the day off. The recently surging T'Wolves had little trouble extending their win streak, beating the Clippers 94-86.
The Clippers are still without Baron Davis, Marcus Camby, Zach Randolph, and Chris Kaman, and with all of that talent out of the lineup -- and more importantly, out of the paint -- that's where Minnesota was able to do the most of their damage.
The T'Wolves' starting fromcourt of Al Jefferson, Craig Smith, and Ryan Gomes outscored the Clippers' front line of Brian Skinner, Al Thornton, and DeAndre Jordan 54-28, with Jefferson himself grabbing as many rebounds (17) as Thornton and Skinner did combined.
With the middle of the floor clearly belonging to the T'Wolves, the Clippers had to do most of their scoring from outside. Eric Gordon led L.A. with 25 points, and Steve Novak finished with a career high 18, including hitting three of his six attempts from three-point land.
As has been the case with this Clippers' team all season, they made a late run to make it respectable before being unable to close the deal. L.A. cut the lead to two points with about a minute and 20 seconds remaining, before Minnesota's Jefferson went to work in the paint, and converted a three-point play to put the game out of reach.
When you look at the lineups that the Clippers have been trotting out there, it's not surprising that they've now lost 13 of their last 14 games. But with the return of Davis, Randolph, and Camby expected to be little more than a week away, the fact that the rest of the team has been competing should be a plus as the team attempts to get back on track for the rest of the season.