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T’Wolves Catch On Fire In 4th, Beat Clippers 109-97

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LOS ANGELES (AP) – Derrick Williams and Michael Beasley each scored 27 points, teaming up to lead a fourth-quarter shooting barrage as the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Clippers 109-97 on Tuesday night in the teams’ first game since the All-Star break.

Williams and Beasley each had 13 points in the fourth. Williams finished 9 of 10 from the field, while making all four of his 3-point attempts and all five of his free throws. Beasley’s shooting was just off that, with him hitting 11 of 15 from the field, all three of his 3-pointers and 2 of 4 free throws. They each had five rebounds.

Nikola Pekovic added 12 points, Martell Webster 11 and Kevin Love 10 for the Wolves, who notched the franchise’s 47th win against the Clippers, its most against any opponent. Love, the 3-point champion during All-Star weekend, took a shot to the ribs in the third quarter and briefly left the court. He returned to the bench about 5 minutes into the fourth wearing a padded shirt.

Blake Griffin scored 30 points, Chris Paul added 27 and DeAndre Jordan had 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Clippers, who similarly faltered in the fourth quarter of a 101-98 home loss to the Wolves on Jan. 20. The loss narrowed the Clippers’ division lead to a game over the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Clippers led virtually all of the first three quarters and were up 76-73 going into the fourth. But Williams caught fire, opening with a 3-pointer and then scoring 10 in a row to put the Wolves ahead 90-82. During his torrid stretch, Williams sank a jumper and landed on his rear, getting fouled by Kenyon Martin in the process. He made the free throw — one of three in a row — and capped his run with another 3-pointer.

From there, Beasley took over, scoring his 13 points after Williams tallied his. Beasley capped his run with a 3, too.

Los Angeles never made a serious run late.

The Clippers opened the third quarter on a 7-0 run to go up by 10 points. The Wolves answered with eight straight points of their own to close to 61-59. From there, the Clippers outscored them 15-14 to close the period ahead by three.

Griffin scored 18 points in the first quarter. He sat all but the final five minutes of the second, when he scored six points, giving him 24 at halftime when the Clippers led 54-51. Los Angeles led all but the opening minutes of the first half, when the team shot 52 percent from the floor and made 10 of 13 free throws.

NOTES: The Clippers fell to 12-5 at home. … The Wolves opened a stretch of three games in three nights. They play the Lakers on Wednesday and visit Phoenix on Thursday. This trip coincides with a month-long stretch in which they play 13 of 18 on the road. … Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield attended the game.

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