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NBA: Slow start dooms Timberwolves

By Dan Myers Sports Xchange MINNEAPOLIS -- Chris Paul had 20 points, 16 assists and eight rebounds to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 99-79 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center on Wednesday. The Clippers have won four consecuti...

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(Brad Rempel | USA TODAY Sports) Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, left, blocks a shot from Minnesota Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng in the first quarter Wednesday at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

By Dan Myers

Sports Xchange

MINNEAPOLIS - Chris Paul had 20 points, 16 assists and eight rebounds to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 99-79 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center on Wednesday.

The Clippers have won four consecutive games and opened up a 6 1/2 game lead on the Memphis Grizzlies for fourth place and the final home-court advantage slot in the for the NBA Playoffs in the Western Conference.

Los Angeles has won 15 of the past 16 meetings against Minnesota, including eight in a row at Target Center.

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The Timberwolves never led and were held to their fewest points since scoring 74 against the Denver Nuggets on Jan. 6.

Paul was rolling from the start, scoring 12 points in the first quarter as the Clippers built an early double-digit lead at 27-17 after 12 minutes.

Guard Jamal Crawford had six points in the second quarter and buried at 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Clippers a 47-34 lead at the half.

Los Angeles continued to pour it on in the second half, pushing its lead to over 20 points by the end of the third. Early in the fourth, with Paul on the bench, the Clippers led by as many as 33 points.

Rookie Karl-Anthony Towns led the Timberwolves with 16 points and 11 rebounds, his 46th double-double of the season and 10th straight. No other Wolves starter reached double figures.

Guard J.J. Reddick was 4-for-12 from beyond the arc and finished with 17 points, one of six Clippers to reach double figures. DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

Crawford, Jeff Green and Austin Rivers each finished with 10 points off the bench for Los Angeles.

Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins left the game in the third quarter with a laceration on his chin and did not return. He is not expected to miss any time moving forward.

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NOTES: Clippers F Paul Pierce did not play because of ankle and knee injuries sustained against the Boston Celtics on Monday. ... Los Angeles will play the second half of back-to-back games on Thursday against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. ... Minnesota will hit the road for one game against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena on Friday.

 

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