Alexander Shun | @alexpshun
Digital Content Manager | KFAN.com
The Los Angeles Clippers were dangerously short-handed on Thursday night and the Minnesota Timberwolves took advantage. More specifically, Karl-Anthony Towns took advantage.
Towns had one of the best games of the season, going off for 37 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists as the Timberwolves went in to Los Angeles and knocked off the Clippers 104-101.
The Timberwolves big man proved to be unstoppable as he made shots from all over the floor and distributing and moving the ball well on offense while playing solid, at times shut down, defense at the other end.
"He was unbelievable," Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said of Towns after the game. "He made a ton of shots all over the floor. We probably should have done something else to give [DeAndre Jordan] some help. We didn't, we thought we could guard him and he made us pay."
Just how dominant was Towns on Thursday night? He single-handedly outscored the Clippers 15-12 in the last 6:39 of the fourth quarter and he scored nine of Minnesota's last 11 points.
With Minnesota trailing 101-100, Towns hit an 18-foot jumper to give the Wolves the lead. After a missed three-pointer by J.J. Redick, Andrew Wiggins grabbed an offensive rebound for Minnesota and drew a foul. He calmly knocked down both free-throws pushing Minnesota's lead to 104-101 and the Wolves would withstand two shot attempts to tie to claim victory.
"I just took what the defense gave me," Towns said, speaking about his monster performance. "I just tried to make shots, even if they were hard. I put all my will, my passion, my determination at the end of the game and put it on the line. If you want to be great in this game, you've got to be willing to take those kind of shots."
"He got better spacing in the second half," Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau said, speaking about Towns. "The depth where he was catching the ball was a big plus. Then he got into a rhythm, hit the three and mixed his game up pretty well."
The Clippers were playing without two of their best players as Blake Griffin remained out after having arthroscopic surgery in December to remove loose bodies from his right knee and Chris Paul was sidelined after tearing a ligament in his left thumb on Monday, an injury that will keep Paul sidelined for the next six to eight weeks.
Despite the injuries, the Clippers led for the majority of the game and received huge performances from Jordan and Austin Rivers.
Jordan led the way for Los Angeles, finishing with 29 points, 16 rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots while Rivers chipped in 20 points and two assists in the loss.
"It doesn't help us having one of our leaders out, especially Chris, who is one of the great playmakers, great defenders and great and scorers on this team," Jordan said. "Chris creates a lot of shot opportunities for guys, and he's such a threat offensively that he draws a lot of attention."
Regardless of the Clippers injuries, the Timberwolves played a great game - a complete game - and earned a win.
Wiggins added 27 points, four rebounds and four assists for Minnesota and Gorgui Dieng chipped in 13 points and seven rebounds in the Timberwolves win.