After impressive fourth-quarter run, Wolves' comeback falls just short
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LOS ANGELES -- Blake Griffin had 25 points and 10 rebounds, Chris Paul added 21 points and the Los Angeles Clippers held off the Minnesota Timberwolves 109-107 on Monday night after Nikola Pekovic missed a tip-in at the buzzer.
Love missed first and Pekovic came up just short to end the Wolves' two-game winning streak.
Paul had 11 assists, Jamal Crawford scored 18 points and DeAndre Jordan had 14 points and 11 rebounds to help the Clippers improve to 3-0 at home.
Kevin Martin scored 30 points for the Wolves, who lost their sixth straight against the Clippers.
Pekovic added 25 points, and Love had 23 points and 19 rebounds. They ended a 22-game series losing streak against the Lakers on Sunday, and nearly stopped their skid against Staples Center's other NBA team.
Los Angeles opened the fourth with a 14-7 run to build a 98-87 lead, its first by double digits since the second quarter. Crawford scored eight points. Jordan missed all five of his free throws in the period, clanking his last two off the front of the rim while the Wolves got within six.
Minnesota cut its deficit to 101-99 on a fast-break dunk by Martin off Paul's turnover. Martin hit a 3-pointer on the previous possession.
The Clippers scored six in a row to go up 107-99 before the Wolves answered with six straight to trail 107-105.
Griffin got fouled and made both for a 109-107 lead. Corey Brewer missed a 3-pointer in the left corner, but Pekovic was alone under the basket, grabbed the rebound and put it in to keep the Wolves within two with 28 seconds left.
The teams played a back-and-forth third, with neither leading by more than six points. Ricky Rubio's 3-pointer put the Wolves ahead 76-74 before the Clippers closed on an 11-4 run to lead 85-80. Crawford tossed up a 3-pointer from 15 feet behind the midcourt line that banked in at the buzzer, enlivening the crowd.
The Clippers used a 19-5 run, including 10 in a row, with six different players scoring to go up 53-42 in the second quarter. Pekovic keyed a 16-6 spurt with nine points to send the Wolves into halftime trailing 59-58.© The Associated Press