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Love's big game helps T-Wolves down Clippers

Mar 6, 2012 - 4:37 AM Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Kevin Love scored his team's final four points down the stretch en route to a 39-point, 17-rebound performance as the Timberwolves held on for a 95-94 victory over the Clippers at Target Center on Monday.

Chris Paul had a chance to tie the game for the Clippers with 2.7 seconds left after being fouled by rookie Derrick Williams on a three-point attempt.

Paul connected on the first two free throws, but missed badly on the third allowing Minnesota to escape with the victory.

Williams played well despite the foul, scoring 15 points and pulling down nine rebounds. Darko Milicic and Luke Ridnour scored 13 and 12, respectively, as the Timberwolves improved to 3-0 this season against the Clippers.

"We were able to hit shots and persevere in the end," said Love after the game. "It seems like we do everything necessary to win, especially in tight games like this, from the rookies all the way up to the veterans making winning plays."

Paul finished with 18 points and five assists, while Blake Griffin led the way with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Mo Williams added 19 points off the bench, but the Clippers dropped to 2-2 on their current six-game road trip.

After Michael Beasley pressed the Minnesota lead to 11 with a trey, the visitors reeled off a 9-2 surge, capped by Bobby Simmons' three from the left corner to cut the deficit to 83-79 with 6:15 left in the fourth.

With under two minutes left, the Clippers forced a 24-second shot clock violation on the T'Wolves, and Mo Williams sank three from the line after a Ridnour foul to cut the deficit to three, 91-88, with 1:48 remaining.

Love and Griffin then exchanged buckets before Love finished a layup over Kenyon Martin to reestablish the five-point lead for Minnesota with 43.3 seconds still to play.

Paul missed a healthy three, but came up with a steal on the other end, and made two from the charity stripe.

The Clippers came up with another stop on defense as they took possession with 4.8 seconds left, leading to the decisive free throw attempts from Paul.

"They're a good team, look at their record," said Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro. "We missed a lot of free throws, but our guys battled and grinded it out and we had an opportunity. We just couldn't convert when we needed it."

Love and Griffin started their battle early as Griffin reeled of six points to start the game and, after a Randy Foye jumper made it 8-2, Love responded with 11 straight in a 17-2 T'Wolves surge as they took a 26-16 lead after one.

The streaky play continued in the second, as the Clippers reeled off 10- straight, sparked by a Griffin three-point play, but Minnesota came back with an 8-2 surge. However, the Clippers had the final say, as their 10-0 run to close out the quarter sent them into the locker room down one, 45-44.

Mo Williams' layup tied the game at 57 more than six minutes into the third, but Minnesota closed the quarter on an 18-8 run to take a 75-65 lead into the final frame.

Game Notes

Minnesota will host Portland on Wednesday, while the Clippers continue their road trip in New Jersey...The Clippers owned the paint, outrebounding Minnesota 52-43, and outscoring the T'Wolves 38-28 in the paint.