Beasley’s 33 Lifts Timberwolves Over Clippers
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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Michael Beasley scored 33 points and hit the winning jumper with 2.3 seconds to play to lift the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 113-111 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.
Kevin Love added 24 points and 14 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who nearly blew another big lead in the fourth quarter but held on to hand Los Angeles its seventh straight loss.
Eric Gordon scored 30 points and Blake Griffin had 26 points and 17 boards for the Clippers (1-11), who haven’t won since beating Oklahoma City on Nov. 3.
After Beasley’s pull-up jumper over former Minnesota forward Ryan Gomes, the Clippers had one more chance. But Rasual Butler’s 3-pointer rimmed out at the buzzer.
Darko Milicic finished with 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting and held Griffin to six points in the second half.
The Timberwolves shot 53 percent for the game, including 53 percent (10 for 19) from 3-point range.
After blowing an eight-point lead with just over two minutes to play in a loss at Charlotte on Monday night, the Timberwolves made things interesting again in the fourth quarter. They led by eight with just under seven minutes to play, but the Clippers outscored Minnesota 10-1 to retake the lead.
Griffin threw down a ferocious dunk on Anthony Tolliver and Al-Farouq Aminu scored on a fast break for a 111-109 advantage with 1:33 to go.
Corey Brewer banked in an off-balance jumper to tie it and the young Clippers turned the ball over twice in crucial spots down the stretch to give the Wolves the chance to win.
Minnesota trailed by five early in the third quarter when Beasley gave the team a spirited pep talk coming out of a break. He quickly hit a 20-footer and a 3-pointer and Love added a 3-pointer to give Minnesota a 73-70 lead.
It’s the kind of leadership that the 21-year-old Beasley has been exhibiting during his recent offensive surge. He averaged 32.5 points over the previous four games, helping the Wolves go 2-2 in that span with a 42-point effort in Sacramento last week.
More of his versatility was on display Wednesday night, with the 6-foot-9 forward hitting 14 of 23 shots from all over the floor.
His 3-pointer in the fourth quarter gave him 26 points for the night, making him the first Timberwolves player since Kevin Garnett more than 10 years ago to score at least 25 points in five straight games.
NOTES: Aminu scored 17 points. … Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said G Randy Foye is getting closer to returning from his strained left hamstring. There still is not a set day for his first game, but Del Negro said he is making good progress. … Wolves PG Luke Ridnour played for the first time in five games and had 12 points and eight assists.
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