LOS ANGELES (AP) — Baron Davis acknowledged he played with a chip on his shoulder, though he emphasized that the courtside chirping by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and the recent stir it caused had nothing to do with his season-high 12 assists.
Eric Gordon scored a season-high 36 points, Blake Griffin added 22 points and 10 rebounds and the Clippers beat Minnesota 113-90 on Monday night. Coming off their first back-to-back victories on the same road trip since Feb. 6-7, 2009, Los Angeles snapped a three-game home losing streak.
“Once we got on the road, I started developing that chip again,” Davis said. “I needed it. Coming back here, I was just trying to be as solid for this team as possible and lead them to victories.”
It was the Clippers’ first game at Staples Center since the news about Sterling’s frequent heckling and taunting of Davis during games, which was reported by Yahoo! Sports early last week. But Davis didn’t attempt to make any eye contact during the game with the man who signs his paychecks.
“The thing about it is that it motivates you to work harder and to be there for your teammates,” Davis said. “I know our owner wants us to win, and that’s why he comes to the games. We just have to do a good job when we’re out there and win basketball games. I know that will make him happy.
“Earlier in the season we faced a lot of adversity with injuries and really just getting to know each other. And when you’re losing like that, it’s frustrating for everybody,” Davis added. “Now we’re starting to get a better flow of who we are and an understanding and an identity of who we are as a team. I know that everybody is pulling for us to win — including the owner.”
Davis, who scored eight points, got three of his assists on loud alley-oop dunks by Griffin.
“We’re getting there,” Davis said with a laugh. “The more and more we get that court time with each other, I think the better and better it’s going to get. Blake is opening up a lot of scoring opportunities for everyone else, so it’s important to reward him when he’s running the floor — look for the mismatch and try to get him a couple of easy ones.”
Michael Beasley scored 20 points and Kevin Love added 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who completed a six-game trip with their 12th straight road loss — matching their longest drought of last season.
It was the sixth trip of six or more games in the franchise’s 22-year history, and the second that didn’t produce a win. The other was a six-gamer in March 2006 that included a loss to the Clippers.
The Timberwolves have won only one of their last 30 road games, 98-89 against Sacramento on Nov. 10.
“We played poorly,” Love said. “We didn’t execute our game plan on the defensive end by any means, and the same thing on the offensive end. This isn’t how you want to end a road trip.”
The Timberwolves, who came in averaging an NBA-best 16.8 second-chance points, didn’t crack that column until Love’s putback of a missed 22-footer from the top of the key by Luke Ridnour with 10:22 left in the third quarter. Minnesota ended up with just nine points off seven offensive rebounds. The Clippers had 15 points off their 14 offensive boards.
Gordon, who converted five of seven 3-point attempts, hit one that increased the margin to 91-71 with 3:12 left in the third quarter and Minnesota got no closer than 15 the rest of the way. The Timberwolves, who came in averaging a league-best 45.8 rebounds, lost the battle of the boards 56-33.
Griffin, who tied a career best with seven assists, recorded his 15th straight double-double and 22nd this season. Love had his league-leading 24th double-double and 15th in a row — the first with fewer than 14 rebounds.
The Clippers, who averaged 109.3 points in their previous three meetings with the Timberwolves, led 68-58 at halftime after shooting 53 percent from the field and committing just three turnovers. Gordon led the way with 21 points, as Los Angeles ended the second quarter on a 14-5 run.
Timberwolves center Darko Milicic, who missed Saturday’s game at Denver with a sprained right ankle after getting injured in the opening minute of Friday’s game at Portland, was back in the lineup. But he lasted only 5 minutes before re-aggravating the ankle and didn’t score.
Nikola Pekovic sat out his second straight game with a sprained right knee.
NOTES: Among the crowd of 16,053 was former Clipper Ken Norman, who lives in Chicago and was attending his first game at Staples Center. Norman helped the team earn consecutive playoff berths in 1992 and 1993. … The Clippers had just 13 turnovers, and have committed fewer than 20 in seven of their eight victories. The only exception was a 90-85 upset of San Antonio in which they had 20.
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