Published January 17, 2013
| Sports Network
The Los Angeles Clippers look to wrap up a perfect three- game road trip when they invade the Twin Cities Thursday night to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center.
The Clippers, one of the league leaders in wins with 30, have beaten Memphis and Houston so far on the trip and are coming off Tuesday's 117-109 victory over the Rockets. Playing without star point guard Chris Paul for a second straight game due to a bruised knee, Eric Bledsoe controlled the offense and led the way with a season-high 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Blake Griffin finished with 19 points and eight assists for the Clippers, who received 30 points from top reserve Jamal Crawford. The Clips are 11-1 this season when Crawford leads the team in scoring.
"Jamal is going to score when he gets going like that," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. "It doesn't matter who you put on him, but overall he made some tough shots for us and opened up the lead."
Matt Barnes chipped in 18 points for the Pacific Division-leading Clippers, who have won five of six games overall and are 12-5 away from home. Los Angeles scored on 10 of its first 11 possessions in the third quarter en route to a 25-6 run for an 83-65 advantage.
L.A. made 53.8 percent of its shots and buried 11-of-19 3-pointers.
As far as the Clippers are concerned on the status of Paul, he is listed as questionable Thursday night. The Clippers may wait until Saturday for a home tilt with Washington to bring CP3 back.
Minnesota has struggled in the New Year, having lost four in a row and six of eight games. The Timberwolves went winless on their recent four-game trek, which culminated with Monday's 113-98 loss against the Dallas Mavericks.
Nikola Pekovic notched a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds, while J.J. Barea recorded 21 points off the bench in defeat.
"We started off pretty good and then we got into a little trouble. They wanted to run and earlier on we didn't do a good job full balance offensively," said Wolves coach Terry Porter. "They got into the break and they really attacked us at the rim early like we thought they would. We did a good job fighting back at the end, but we just ran out of gas."
Porter is filling in for head coach Rick Adelman, who has missed the team's last five games for personal reasons.
Dallas had its largest lead at 91-68 late in the third period.
The Wolves will also entertain Houston on their quick homestand and own a 10-5 record at the Target Center as opposed to a 6-14 road ledger.
Minnesota and the Clippers will play the second of four meetings this season. The Clippers will head back to Minneapolis on Jan. 30 before hosting the Timberwolves April 10. Paul scored 23 points in L.A.'s 101-95 victory back on Nov. 28, while Kevin Love finished with 19 points and 12 boards for the Wolves. Love is currently sidelined with a broken hand.
The Clippers have lost six of 11 and 13 of their last 19 at Minnesota.