LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves learned what two
other teams discovered earlier this season: The way to win on the
Clippers' home court is to take them to overtime.
Sam Cassell scored eight of his season-high 30 points in
overtime and Kevin Garnett added 22 points and 15 rebounds, helping
the Timberwolves beat Los Angeles 107-100 Saturday night for their
fifth straight victory.
"We were a little sluggish tonight, and the guys just needed me
to get them going," Cassell said. "I took what they gave me and
made shots. It's a simple game if you know how to play it."
All three overtime losses by the Clippers this season have come
at Staples Center, and all against teams with winning records.
Houston beat them, as did the defending champion Pistons in double
The Clippers are off to the best start in their Los Angeles era
at 10-7, and they know they could just as easily be 13-4.
"We had great opportunities in overtime, but we have to learn
through experience how to close these games out," said Corey
Maggette, who tied a career high with 34 points. "We executed
well, but they're a veteran team and they play well together. When
it came down to the end, Sam Cassell hit the clutch shots and ran
Eddie Griffin had 13 points and 11 rebounds off the bench for
Minnesota, which went 4-0 on its road trip and snapped the
Clippers' five-game winning streak. It's the first time the
Timberwolves have swept a road trip of four or more games in their
"We've had great execution down the stretch, especially in all
four games on the road," Minnesota guard Fred Hoiberg said. "Sam
kept us in the game, coming down and hitting some shots in
The Clippers committed 20 turnovers -- seven of them in the first
nine minutes against a Minnesota defense that entered the game last
in the league in turnovers forced (12.6) and next-to-last in steals
"There were too many turnovers," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy
said. "We gave a really good team too many chances to win."
Cassell hit consecutive jumpers 40 seconds apart to give
Minnesota a 96-94 edge with 2:21 left in OT. After Bobby Simmons
hit one of two free throws, Griffin made a 3-pointer for a
Mikki Moore also missed one of two at the line for the Clippers
before Cassell missed a 3-point shot at the other end. But Maggette
tried to pass the ball through traffic, and Cassell intercepted it
before going in for a driving layup and a 101-96 lead with 58
seconds to go. Latrell Sprewell's short jumper clinched it with 31
The Timberwolves have beaten the Clippers eight consecutive
times, including four straight in Los Angeles.
Garnett, last season's MVP, has had at least 15 rebounds and 15
points in each of his last five games.
Los Angeles pulled ahead 77-76 with an 8-0 spurt capped by
Moore's tip-in with 8:25 left in regulation. The lead changed hands
seven more times before Simmons converted an offensive rebound of a
missed 3-pointer by Rick Brunson and hit a free throw for a
three-point play that put the Clippers ahead 91-90 with 1:48 left.
After a free throw by Brunson, Garnett's eight-footer in the
lane tied it at 92-all with 26 seconds to go. Brunson missed a
13-footer from the key and Simmons also misfired as time ran out in
The Timberwolves, who ended Phoenix's nine-game winning streak
on Friday, led 49-42 at halftime despite poor shooting by two of
its big three. Garnett missed 10 of his first 13 shots -- including
a slam-dunk attempt off an offensive rebound with 2:54 left in the
first half. Sprewell connected on his first shot but missed his
Minnesota outscored Los Angeles 23-4 in points off
turnovers. In their previous seven games, the Timberwolves were
outscored 121-63 in that category. ... Cassell was only the third
player this season to score at least 30 points against the
Clippers. The others were Tracy McGrady and Amare Stoudemire. ...
Maggette was the first player to score 30 or more points against
Minnesota this season. ... Los Angeles F Kerry Kittles missed his
sixth straight game with a bruised right knee.