Rapid Reaction: Clippers 114, Wolves 104

March, 31, 2014
Mar 31
7:40
PM PT
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Los Angeles Clippers are accustomed to having players miss games this season. But it had been 105 games since they last had to go into a game without Blake Griffin.

Facing a Minnesota Timberwolves team with Kevin Love -- Griffin’s counterpart in the debate over best power forward in the NBA -- the Clippers prevailed 114-104.

Apart from Griffin, they also were without Jamal Crawford, J.J. Redick and Danny Granger, showing once again how much they have grown as a team and on the road.

“It shows our maturity as a team, as a unit,” DeAndre Jordan said after the Clippers’ back-to-back comeback wins on the road before Monday’s game. “We’ve been through a lot adversity this year, with players going down, a new system, a new coach.

“But I think this shows how everybody steps up when guys go down. When one of our All-Stars went down, everybody else had to step up.”

How it happened: The Clippers and Wolves looked equally disinterested in the first half as the Clippers took a 54-51 halftime lead. The Wolves then took a six-point lead in the third quarter before the Clippers blew the game wide open by going on a 33-7 run to take a 88-64 lead and never looked back.

What it means: It means the Clippers swept the season series against Minnesota and their magic number for winning the Pacific Division is now two. The Clippers also are just two games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for the 2-seed in the West with seven games to play, which includes a game against the Thunder in Los Angeles.

Hits: With Griffin out, Darren Collison and Chris Paul were far more aggressive for the second straight game. Collison finished with 28 points and seven assists, while Paul had 22 points and nine assists. DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and a career-high 24 rebounds, with 12 of those rebounds coming in the first quarter. Matt Barnes had 19 points. And Jared Dudley, starting his first game since Jan. 18, finished with 16 points.

Misses: No real misses on the night, but with all of the Clippers' injuries it would have been nice to see Glen Davis -- on the heels of his dismissal from the bench on Saturday -- play more than four minutes. He finished with just two points. All of the bench players finished in the negative in the plus-minus department, while every starter was double-digit plus.

Stat of the game: The Clippers hit 12-of-30 from beyond the arc. The Clippers are now 32-1 this season when making at least nine 3-pointers.

Up next: The Clippers travel to Arizona to take on the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday. After getting blown out by the Suns in their first meeting of the season, the Clippers have won the last two against Phoenix. And a win on Wednesday would get them one step closer to their second straight Pacific Division title.

Arash Markazi

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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