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Jan 30, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin (32) and Minnesota Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic (14) fight for position to get a rebound in the second half at Target Center. The Clippers won 96-90. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Fight or Flight: Clippers Outmuscle Timberwolves 96-90

It was a hard-fought battle, but the Los Angeles Clippers were able to muscle through to a 96-90 victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Timberwolves came out with something to prove. Not only did they undoubtedly want to end their losing streak, but they seemed to have a renewed energy with the return of coach Rick Adelman on the sideline.

The first quarter was rough for the Clippers, as the Timberwolves shot 64.7% from the field and didn’t allow the Clippers any 3-pointers.

The Clippers looked frustrated, and the second quarter manifested that frustration in…let’s call it scrappiness. Two confrontations with Greg Stiensma left the Clippers without Matt Barnes early in the game and gave Caron Butler and Ronny Turiaf technical fouls. Although unfortunate, these less-than-savory tussles did seem to spark the fire in the Clippers that allowed them to regain their momentum and come out with a win.

Overall, the Clippers did a better job defending the 3, holding the Timberwolves to 26.3% from beyond the line. They still look a bit disoriented without Chris Paul, and it has become clear that they are dearly missing the points that he would normally bring to the table. While I am impressed that Eric Bledsoe has stepped up as a starter, it is impossible to fill the all-star caliber shoes of CP3. It will be a happy day when he returns.

For the Clippers, Blake Griffin led the team with 26 points and 13 rebounds. Caron Butler followed with 19 points, and Jamal Crawford put up 17 points.

For the Timberwolves, Nikola Pekovic led the team with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Andrei Kirilenko and J.J. Barea each followed with 14 points.

With tonight’s win, the Clippers hand the Timberwolves their 5th-straight loss. The Clippers continue their road trip to take on the new-look Toronto Raptors on Friday.

Tags: 96-90 Los Angeles Clippers Minnesota Timberwolves

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