Dec 22, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul (3) drives to the basket as Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio (9) during the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Wolves Gift Wrap Game for Los Angeles, 120-116

The Clippers came back from 5 points in the closing moments of regulation in their 120-116 victory over the Wolves Sunday night at Staples Center to force overtime.

With the Wolves up 2, Kevin Martin caught an in-bounds pass in the Wolves backcourt and was ambushed by Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford. Martin coughed up the ball and the Wolves — with no time outs remaining — got the ball to Nikola Pekovic who missed and rebounded and missed again.

In overtime, the Wolves’ defense surrounded Chris Paul as he circled under the backboard and sent a crosscourt pass to Jared Dudley, who calmly sank a 3 after going 0-6 to that point, and gave the Clips a point lead they would not fail to relinquish.

Kevin Love scored 45 points on 23 shots (making 15) to go with 19 rebounds. Love made 13 of 15 foul shots. He didn’t touch the ball when the Wolves needed crucial points down the stretch. Nikola Pekovic took 28 shots — easily the most he’s taken in an NBA game and possibly the most shots he has ever attempted in an entire day of his life — making 16, plus 2 of 3 foul shots, good for 34 points to go with his 14 rebounds.

I mention the Wolves frontcourt’s performance because although Blake Griffin had 32 points on 20 shots and DeAndre Jordan pulled down 17 rebounds, the Wolves’ did enough damage to win this game.

Ricky Rubio had 12 assists, only 3 turnovers, and just 2 fouls though he played no small part in limiting Chris Paul to 6-19 shooting. Rubio didn’t score a single point and missed all four of his shot attempts.

The headlines will be Griffin’s dunks and Matt Barnes acting like Matt Barnes and receiving a Flagrant-2 foul and subsequent ejection while Kevin Love drew blood from Blake Griffin’s forehead with a couple elbows on a rip-through move — but the Wolves let another one in Staples Center get away.

Tags: Blake Griffin Chris Paul Deandre Jordan Kevin Love Los Angeles Clippers Minnesota Timberwolves Nikola Pekovic Ricky Rubio

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