- Peter Yoon, ESPNLosAngeles.com
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Here are three keys to the victory:
The Clippers started hot, jumping out to an 8-0 lead and did not allow the Timberwolves to score until the 8:13 mark of the first quarter, but it was the way they finished quarters that won the game. Minnesota nearly erased double-digit deficits in the second and third quarters, but both times the Clippers made late-quarter runs to keep the Timberwolves at an arm's length. Minnesota pulled to within two points with 4:29 left in the second quarter, but a 13-2 Clippers run to end the half helped push the lead back to 58-46. Minnesota trimmed that to 69-66 with 6:30 left in the third quarter, but the Clippers outscored the Timberwolves, 19-6, for the rest of the quarter and opened an 88-72 lead after three quarters.
The Blake Show
Blake Griffin finished with 19 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and his fair share of highlight-worthy dunks. A couple of those dunks were particularly meaningful. Minnesota, which trailed by as many as nine in the first quarter, used a strong run to make the score 42-40 with 4:29 left in the half. After a Chris Paul 3-pointer, Griffin had back-to-back fast-break power dunks late in the first half to give the Clippers a 49-42 lead. Soon after, he lobbed a pass to DeAndre Jordan for a crowd-raising alley-oop. Griffin's high-flying act keyed the late run in the second half that gave the Clippers some much needed momentum when it became apparent Minnesota would not go quietly.
For the second time in three games, Willie Green tied his season high with 15 points. He made 5-of-8 shots from the field, including 3-of-3 from 3-point range. The three 3-pointers also tied a season high for the 12th-year veteran. Green also scored 15 points on April 3 against the Phoenix Suns and has reached double figures in scoring five times in the past nine games. He has made 17-of-26 3-pointers during that nine-game stretch, providing a legitimate deep threat to help open things up inside for Clippers' forwards.
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