Clippers cruise to 90-77 win over Timberwolves
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Los Angeles Clippers didn't have much left in the tank at the end of a three-game road trip that was played entirely without star point guard Chris Paul.
Against the injury-depleted Minnesota Timberwolves, they didn't need much.
Jamal Crawford scored 22 points, Blake Griffin added 20 and the Clippers hardly broke a sweat in cruising to a 90-77 victory over the free-falling Timberwolves on Thursday night.
Lamar Odom grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out six assists, and the Clippers outscored Minnesota's bench 45-23 to overcome Paul's third straight missed game because of a knee injury.
"It was a bad game for us and to still get a win and finish off a road trip 3-0 is great," Griffin said. "We needed these three wins, especially with CP out. Other guys stepped up and did a great job."
Ronny Turiaf had 11 points — his first double-digit scoring game since March 21, 2011 — and the Clippers had a 50-30 advantage on points in the paint.
Luke Ridnour scored 21 points and Ricky Rubio had four points and six assists in his first start of the season for the Timberwolves, who lost leading scorer and rebounder Nikola Pekovic to a bruised right quadriceps in the third quarter.
The Timberwolves shot just 35.7 percent and missed 15 of their 19 3-pointers in losing their fifth straight game.
"It's tough, but we have two ways to do it," Rubio said. "One is complaining because we have the injuries. I don't think that's the way. The way is to be a man. I think we have to step up. Everybody has to know his new role. Every game it's changing and that's hard to do. But we are here and we're going to do it."
Even without their MVP candidate out there to steer the ship over the last few games, the Clippers have been humming right along. Backup Eric Bledsoe clearly has been watching how Paul goes about his business because the third-year Kentucky point guard has played with a maturity and explosiveness that has allowed the Clippers to not miss a beat.
Bledsoe picked up two quick fouls in the first 3 minutes on Thursday night, but that was no problem for the deepest team in the league. Coach Vinny Del Negro went to super-sub Crawford, who scored 12 points in the first half to help Los Angeles muddle through an uninspired start.
"We should come into every arena feeling we should get the W," Caron Butler said at the morning shootaround. "That's not being cocky or overconfident. That's having enough confidence in our ability and ourselves and the personnel we have out there and the system that we run."
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