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Eric Gordon leads Clippers past Timberwolves, 113-90

Guard scores a season-high 36 points to upstage a double-double duel between teammate Blake Griffin and Kevin Love.

December 20, 2010|By Lisa Dillman

Something got in the way of the great double-double duel.

Eric Gordon.

Sure, the marquee lure/draw of Monday night's game at Staples Center was the NBA's double-double leaders -- the Clippers' Blake Griffin vs. Minnesota's Kevin Love.

Griffin, naturally, did not disappoint with his usual array of dunks and muscled his way to his 16th consecutive double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Love had his 24th double-double of the season, scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

But it was Gordon taking center stage. He seized the game early and took hold with his quiet tenacity, scoring a season-high 36 points in the Clippers' 113-90 victory over the Timberwolves.

"Like I said early on the season, I wasn't really hitting anything," Gordon said of his five three-point baskets. "It's coming back to me now."

Griffin's streak of double-doubles came perilously close to ending against Minnesota. He had only two rebounds in the first half and didn't end up completing his 22nd double-double of the season until there were 3 minutes 13 seconds remaining, grabbing his 10th rebound.

In fact, teammate Ryan Gomes, who had his strongest game of the season, got to the double-double plateau just before Griffin, completing his earlier in the fourth quarter.

"It was huge," Griffin said of Gomes. "It was huge. I said to him before the game, 'Ryan, we need you tonight.' And he definitely took it literally. He took it in every sense of the word.

"… He was the game changer for us."

But undoubtedly, a much smaller number means more to Griffin: The Clippers' winning streak.

After hitting a season-low point in Philadelphia, the Clippers have put together a three-game run, beating Detroit, Chicago and Minnesota. That's the beauty of the NBA -- if you don't like what is going on, wait a week.

In this case, it wasn't even a week since the debacle against the 76ers.

(Though it may not seem that way, the Clippers actually did win three games in a row last season, a stretch from Feb. 20 to Feb. 24.)

On Monday, Gordon shouldered the load early against the Timberwolves but had plenty of assistance despite an injury-depleted lineup. Gomes, who had been averaging 7.3 points, had a season-high 22 points and 10 rebounds. His previous high this season had been 20 points.

Also, for the Clippers, Baron Davis had eight points and 12 assists. The Clippers tied a season high with 31 assists, which they also had at Detroit.

Some more impressive numbers: The Clippers outscored the Timberwolves, 62-28, in the paint and outrebounded them, 56-33.

"Total effort by everyone," Gomes said. "Everyone contributed in major ways, especially on the defensive end. … Every night is not going to be a night where I score major points. I got to the free-throw line a lot.

"I got double-digit rebounds. If I can continue to get seven, eight rebounds a game, that's really going to show my aggressiveness."

Gordon's season-high had been 32 points, which came last month in a loss at Phoenix. Gordon nearly got there with 31 points in three quarters.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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