News » Al Jefferson's 24 not enough for Timberwolves as Clippers get first win

Al Jefferson's 24 not enough for Timberwolves as Clippers get first win

Al Jefferson's 24 not enough for Timberwolves as Clippers get first win LOS ANGELES -- Kurt Rambis was an assistant coach, assistant general manager and head coach with the Los Angeles Lakers for 10 years, all at Staples Center. But when he showed up here Monday, he couldn't find his locker room.

"I did have to ask somebody where the visiting locker room was," he said. "I didn't know where it was."

Yes, it's a new world for the Timberwolves' new coach, who helped lead finely tuned, star-studded Lakers teams to four NBA Finals and two championships. Now he's trying to rebuild a franchise that was never all that built to begin with.

The Timberwolves showed considerable life Monday, and often looked good, but in the end they became the Los Angeles Clippers' first victim of the season in a 93-90 loss in front of 13,614 rowdy fans.

Center Chris Kaman had a game-high 25 points, and Baron Davis had 13 points and eight assists as Los Angeles won for the first time in five games this season.

Al Jefferson, testing his surgically repaired right knee on back-to-back nights, scored a team-high 24 points for Minnesota. His inside basket pulled the Timberwolves within 89-88 with less than 30 seconds to play, but Rasual Butler made two free throws to push the lead to three with 19.4 seconds remaining.

Minnesota called a timeout to set up a play and Ryan Hollins cut the lead to one point on an inside basket, but the Timberwolves immediately fouled, putting Butler back on the line with 11.9 seconds left and he made both free throws, the last of 32 the Clippers would take; Minnesota shot just 16.

Corey Brewer air-balled an awkward three-point attempt to end the game.

Brewer, whose 2010-11 contract option was picked up earlier Monday, had 14 points, six assists and five steals for the Wolves, who went 0-2 on this short road trip and return to Minnesota for Wednesday's game against the Boston Celtics with a 1-3 record.

"I love the scrappiness of this team, the way they fight, the way they always give effort," Rambis said. "We're trying to stretch that effort. The way they play in the second half, they need to play like that in the first half, too."

After trailing the entire first half, thanks mostly to woeful shooting, the Timberwolves finally tied the game in the third quarter on Damien Wilkins' 19-foot jumper, a basket set up by one of Brewer's steals, and took a 72-71 lead on a dunk by Hollins.

The lead then tilted for several minutes.

Kaman answered with a 10-foot jumper, but point guard Ramon Sessions regained the lead for Minnesota with a jumper. Craig Smith scored inside off an assist from Sebastian Telfair; both played for the Timberwolves last season before being traded to L.A. this summer.

Hollins answered with a short jumper to put Minnesota back up 76-75.

The Clippers gained the upper hand on a three-pointer by Davis and Kaman's unmolested dunk, which gave Los Angeles an 86-82 lead with 4:46 remaining.

But the Timberwolves stayed close, answering to keep it two a two-point game until the Clippers got two long offensive rebounds with 53.4 seconds remaining. Marcus Camby swatted the second to Kaman, who was fouled by Brewer and made two free throws to extend the Clippers' lead to 89-86.

The Timberwolves played most of the second half without point guard Jonny Flynn, who was benched in favor of Sessions. Flynn played just 4:09 in the second half because of what Rambis called "turnovers and bad decisions."

He finished with four assists and five turnovers.

"I'll let him make a mistake or two, but if he can't correct them himself, I have no choice," Rambis said.

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Added: November 4, 2009


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