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Clippers will take 90-77 win over Minnesota, though it's not pretty

Despite choppy play and 18 turnovers, the Clippers buckle down on defense and get contributions from a variety of sources to pull off sweep of three-game trip.

January 17, 2013|By Broderick Turner

MINNEAPOLIS — Maybe it wasn't a thing of beauty for the Clippers, not with the way they mishandled the basketball and played unevenly against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

But in the Clippers' eyes, they were able to accept the beauty that a win brings, especially with Chris Paul sitting out for the third consecutive game because of a bruised right kneecap.

The Clippers' 90-77 victory over the Timberwolves on Thursday night at the Target Center gave L.A. a sweep of this three-game trip.

"To have pretty much a bad game for us and to still get a win and finish off the road trip 3-0 is great," said Blake Griffin, who had 20 points. "We needed these three wins, especially with CP out. Other guys stepped up and did a great job."

The Clippers won their last three games by an average of 14.6 points, and they won two of them by double digits.

They won in Memphis on Monday night by a surprising 26 points and in Houston in a back-to-back game by clamping down in the third quarter.

The Clippers now are 13-5 on the road and half a game behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for the best record in the NBA.

"The first win in Memphis was unexpected because of the way we jumped on them," said Jamal Crawford, who led the Clippers in scoring with 22 points off the bench. "Houston, they kind of came out and got us first and then we got back in the game. Tonight we kind of turned the ball over and had no real flow, but we got the win."

The Clippers turned the ball over 18 times, including a team-high four by point guard Eric Bledsoe, who started in place of Paul again.

They shot 50% in the first half but just 40% in the second half, which included their making only 31.1% of their shots in the third and turning the ball over five times.

But the Clippers were able to overcome all of that because they once again got contributions from all over.

Matt Barnes had 11 points and Lamar Odom had a game-high 12 rebounds and a team-high six assists.

Ronny Turiaf scored a season-high 11 points, eight in the second quarter.

"I just take whatever is given to me," Turiaf said. "I don't try to go outside and do something that's probably out of my comfort zone. Tonight, it was one of those games where I was just being aggressive."

The beauty the Clippers did find was in how they played defense, holding the Timberwolves to 35.7% shooting.

And in the end, the beauty was in a victory that improved the Clippers to 31-9.

"Man, that was an excellent trip," Paul said. "We're getting out of here with three wins. Eric did a great job running the show, setting the tone, really on both ends of the court in all three games. That's tough — to win three games on the road."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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