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Jefferson's double-double helps Timberwolves down Clippers

Jan 20, 2009 - 12:35 AM By John Reger PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Al Jefferson had 20 points and 17 rebounds as the Minnesota Timberwolves stayed red hot with a 94-86 victory over the shorthanded Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.

Craig Smith added 20 points and eight rebounds for the Timberwolves, who have won seven of eight and nine of their last 12 games.

"I think that we had a good game, and we made a lot of big shots that worked in our favor," Minnesota Coach Kevin McHale said. "It was another workman like game for us."

"We wanted to start the game and attack," Jefferson said. "When you are attacking the basket you have a good chance to get fouled and make some baskets and that's what we did."

Rookie Eric Gordon scored 25 points for Los Angeles, which has lost 13 of 14 and had just nine healthy players available.

The Clippers were without Zach Randolph (knee), Marcus Camby (ankle), Chris Kaman (arch) and Baron Davis (bruised tailbone).

"We have been facing it for a while, but we cannot worry about that," Gordon said. "We had a chance to win the game. Down the stretch, we just did not execute."

Steve Novak helped pick up the slack, scoring 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting.

"I was pleased with our effort," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "We did a lot of good things on the floor. They played hard, they kept themselves in the game."

Los Angeles hung tough and pulled to within, 88-86, on a layup by rookie DeAndre Jordan with 1:22 left. However, Jefferson responded with a 3-point play to make it 91-86 with 55 ticks remaining.

Gordon turned the ball over, and Randy Foye hit a pair of free throws. Sebastian Telfair hit a free throw for the final margin.

Foye finished with 17 points and Telfair chipped in six points and nine assists.

Al Thornton registered 12 points and nine rebounds for the Clippers, who shot 41 percent (34-of-82) and turned the ball over 15 times.

"They were a different team then when we played them last time," Foye said of the Clippers' recent rash of injuries. "I know they are missing big players and I think with them playing things could have been different with today's results."