Clippers drop Timberwolves, spoil Rubio return
13 Nov 2016 - 14:02
Los Angeles: Blake Griffin scored 20 points and pulled down 11 rebounds on Saturday in a 119-105 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis that spoiled the return of guard Ricky Rubio.
Point guard Chris Paul had 19 points and eight assists for the Clippers. J.J. Redick added 18 points and Luc Mbah a Moute contributed a season-high 15 as half a dozen players scored in double figures for the Clippers, who improved to a league-best 9-1.
"That was good," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said of his team's quick start a night after their hard-fought victory over the Thunder in Oklahoma City. The Clippers made 15 of their first 22 shots and led 34-21 after the first quarter.
"I thought our starters came out and performed great. The defensive energy was great," Rivers said. "Luc -- there's nobody in the league right now (who is) a better defensive player than Luc."
He was especially pleased with how the Cameroonian forward teamed defensively with DeAndre Jordan, saying that with both of them on the floor "it makes our defense special".
Karl-Anthony Towns scored 24 points for Minnesota who welcomed Spanish guard Rubio back after he missed five games with a sprained right elbow.
Rubio produced seven points with six assists and six rebounds but the Timberwolves never led after the first quarter.
Griffin surpassed 9,000 career points in the game, the 420th of his NBA career.
Griffin became the fastest player to reach 9,000 points, 4,000 rebounds and 1,500 assists since Larry Bird accomplished the feat in 398 matches.
"He's a great scorer," Rivers said. "But he's such an unselfish scorer it makes our team better."
The Timberwolves face another Los Angeles test on Sunday when they host the Lakers, who powered past the Pelicans in New Orleans 126-99 on Saturday.
Jordan Clarkson scored 23 points, D'Angelo Russell added 22 and Lou Williams contributed 21 as the Lakers won for the fifth time in six games.
Spurs shoot down Rockets
In Houston, scoring bursts from Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili helped the Spurs to a 106-100 victory over the Rockets, who were playing just their second home game of the season after opening with seven of eight on the road.
Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge notched a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, point guard Tony Parker added 16 points and center Pau Gasol contributed 15.
Leonard started strong en route to 20 points total, keying an 18-4 scoring run in the first quarter that rattled the Rockets.
Ginobili finished with 12 points, eight of them in a vital third-quarter stretch after the Rockets had trimmed a 15-point deficit to 69-63 and the Spurs withstood James Harden's triple-double of 25 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists.
The Boston Celtics handed the Indiana Pacers their first home defeat of the season, 105-99 in Indianapolis.
Isaiah Thomas made just four of 13 shots from the field, but he came through when the Celtics really needed him, scoring 12 of his 23 points in the final five minutes.
"This is what the game is all about -- the fourth quarter," Celtics guard Avery Bradley said. "Isaiah did a lot for our team tonight, even though he was not shooting well. He created shots for other players and helped out by just penetrating and collapsing the defense."
The Pacers were without star Paul George, who sprained his left ankle in an overtime loss at Philadelphia on Friday.
"It was frustrating, especially at home against a good team," George said of having to watch the Pacers' home win streak end from the sideline. "I just thought we were real stagnant on offense."