Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 12/4

Game 1: Saturday, December 4th
Game 2: Friday, December 17th
Game 3: Thursday, February 24th
Game 4: Sunday, March 27th

Timberwolves 86

(27-28, 11-15 away)

Clippers 92

(24-31, 18-10 home)

    Coverage: KSTC

    7:30 PM ET, February 24, 2005

    STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIN 16 20 22 2886
    LAC 26 19 19 2892

    Top Performers

    Min: M. Olowokandi 8 Pts, 11 Reb, 4 Blk

    LAC: E. Brand 24 Pts, 7 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Blk

    L.A. snaps eight-game losing streak

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles Clippers were grateful to be back on their homecourt for the first time in more than three weeks, and it showed.

    Elton Brand scored 24 points and helped the Clippers snap an eight-game losing streak Thursday night with a 92-86 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

    The Clippers, returning from a 1-8 road trip that seriously jeopardized their playoff hopes, never trailed while beating the Timberwolves for the first time in 10 tries. Corey Maggette added 19 points for Los Angeles and Chris Kaman had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

    "It's good to be home -- not just at Staples Center, but in your own bed," Brand said. "We definitely have more confidence at home. Tonight we executed defensively and offensively and we hit shots. That was the difference. We had a lot of those games on the road, and in retrospect, it's kind of sad because we would have been in a much better position."

    Latrell Sprewell had 17 points for the Timberwolves, but reserve forward Eddie Griffin sat out the second half after breaking his finger and Michael Olowokandi limped out of the arena with an injured right knee.

    Kevin Garnett had 14 points and eight rebounds while playing just 32 minutes because of foul trouble. He played only four minutes in the third quarter after picking up his fourth foul with 8:20 left.

    The Timberwolves, who trailed by as many as 16 points in the first quarter, cut the lead to two with 3:24 left when Troy Hudson scored six consecutive points to slice the Clippers' lead to 74-72. But Kaman responded with a pair of layups 24 seconds apart, and Maggette clinched it with six free throws in the final 36.2 seconds.

    "I don't think it was too big of a hole to come out of," Hudson said. "But they played well, knocked down shots and played with a lot of aggressiveness, taking the ball to the hole and going to the boards. We fought hard and tried to make a run at the end, but we fell short."

    Sam Cassell, who missed the previous five games because of a strained right hamstring, had five points in 10 minutes for the Timberwolves.

    "I didn't want to play Sam, and I think I played him too much at one stretch," interim coach Kevin McHale said. "He's going to have to just ease back in there. He ran out pretty hard on one breakout, and that thing held up. So that was a pretty good sign."

    The Clippers also have injury problems at the point, with eight-year veteran Rick Brunson and rookie Lionel Chalmers getting most of the playing time with Marko Jaric, Kerry Kittles and No. 1 draft pick Shawn Livingston out. But they still managed a 45-36 halftime lead while limiting Garnett to just six points and four rebounds at the break.

    Playing for the first time in seven days, the Timberwolves stumbled badly out of the gate and missed nine of their first 13 shots. The Clippers opened the game with a 24-8 run fueled by eight points from Brand and ended the first quarter with a 26-16 lead, ending a stretch of eight consecutive quarters in which they were outscored.

    "Elton was tough to guard one-on-one and we couldn't stop him on the block," said Wally Szczerbiak, who scored 15 points. "He made some big shots down the stretch and did a good job after we made our little run."

    The loss dropped the Timberwolves to 27-28, 2½ games behind the idle Lakers for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff berth. But they weren't able to make a deal by Thursday's trading deadline.

    McHale, who also is Minnesota's vice president of operations, has had his attention diverted somewhat over the last 1½ weeks after taking over as head coach on an interim basis following the firing of Flip Saunders on Feb. 12.

    "It was like always -- a lot of talking and a lot of listening," McHale said. "We felt if we didn't think we could improve the team, we wouldn't do it. At the end of the day, for a myriad of reasons, trades just didn't work out for us or for the other team. But I'm happy with the guys we have. And if they come out and give a good honest effort every single night, we'll be fine."

    Game notes

    A brawl broke out between fans about a dozen rows above the court and across from the Minnesota bench during a timeout with 5:27 left in the third quarter, then erupted again after play had resumed. ... Ralph Lawler, who broadcast his 2,000th Clippers game on Feb. 6 at Philadelphia, was honored for his milestone during a halftime ceremony. He received the ball from the 76ers game and a framed jersey with his name and No. 2,000 on it. ... The Clippers have never made the playoffs in a season in which they lost more than six straight. ... The Timberwolves are 2-2 since the coaching change.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 86 92
    FGM-FGA 35-77 (.455) 35-80 (.438)
    3PM-3PA 1-7 (.143) 0-2 (.000)
    FTM-FTA 15-22 (.682) 22-31 (.710)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-38 16-43
    Assists 16 26
    Turnovers 16 13
    Steals 5 7
    Blocks 8 5
    Fast Break Points 9 7
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (2/0) 15 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 0 16

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Michael Olowokandi Olowokandi
    Points: 8
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 4
    Elton Brand Brand
    Points: 24
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 3