The Los Angeles Clippers would probably be fine not seeing the Minnesota Timberwolves again anytime soon.
Minnesota defeated the Clippers 113-107 Wednesday at Staples Center, handing Los Angeles its second straight loss in back-to-back games against the Western Conference foe. DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers never led and had no answer for Minnesota's balanced offensive attack.
Six Timberwolves scored in double figures, with Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler leading the way with 21 and 19 points, respectively.
As a result, Minnesota is 15-11 on the young season and sitting in fourth place in the Western Conference, while Los Angeles has lost four in a row and dropped to 8-15 and further out of the playoff picture.
Towns and Jordan Shine
The individual battle between Jordan and Towns served as the headliner, considering they both notched double-doubles in Sunday's matchup.
They didn't disappoint, with Towns adding 12 rebounds, four blocks and two steals to his point total and Jordan stuffing the stat sheet with 18 points and 21 boards.
Jordan wasted little time doing what he does best with multiple alley-oops in the early going:
DeAndre Jordan is active around the rim! #ItTakesEverything 📺: ESPN https://t.co/d6qFZjB6tg2017-12-7 04:03:05
He did more than just dunk, though, and provided critical energy on both ends as the Clippers trimmed a 19-point deficit in the third quarter to as little as three in the fourth. While Lou Williams did most of the heavy lifting on offense with 23 points (18 in the second half) and eight assists, Jordan added valuable tip-ins and kept multiple possessions alive by battling for loose balls.
The big man even scored three straight baskets for his team to cut the lead to three but couldn't overcome Towns and Co.
Towns provided the usual offensive spark with low-post moves, mid-range touch and slashes to the rim on pick-and-rolls, but his defense stood out for stretches as well. He is not known for his play on that side, but he drew a charge from Jordan to start the second half, found himself on the perimeter guarding Danilo Gallinari at times and helped set the tone with his blocks.
It wasn't all defense for the versatile scorer:
KAT finishes at the rim! #AllEyesNorth 📺: ESPN https://t.co/nDIrNqNjpR2017-12-7 05:30:32
Towns ultimately had more help than Jordan as well, but the battle on the blocks delivered.
Andrew Wiggins and Butler Provide Final Run
Los Angeles was fighting an uphill battle with Blake Griffin sidelined with a knee injury, Milos Teodosic out with a foot setback and Patrick Beverley out for the season because of knee surgery, and it showed in the final stretch.
The Clippers couldn't match Minnesota's depth, who could turn to Towns, Butler, Andrew Wiggins or Taj Gibson on any given possession. With Jordan and the interior defense preoccupied with Towns, Gibson had a double-double in the first half and led the Timberwolves to a 62-49 halftime advantage.
With Gibson—who finished with 16 points and 14 boards—and Towns doing work in the paint, Wiggins and Butler had a number of openings to exploit from mid-range or when attacking the basket.
Butler found one of those lanes to get in on the alley-oops:
I'm all the way up 🎼🎼🎼 https://t.co/Sg8biJgfDU2017-12-7 04:25:37
Williams, Jordan and Austin Rivers (23 points) exerted plenty of energy down the stretch to close the gap to 103-100 in the final minutes, but Butler and Wiggins answered and combined for eight straight points to essentially clinch the win.
The Clippers simply ran out of options with only three players in double figures and couldn't counter Minnesota's wing players with the game hanging in the balance.
Los Angeles will attempt to get back on track Saturday against the Washington Wizards, while the Timberwolves will face the Dallas Mavericks on the same day.