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Wolves claw past Clippers to earn rare playoff berth

Sportsnaut
Apr 12, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA;  Los Angeles Clippers forward Marcus Morris (8) controls the ball as Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (1) defends during the first quarter of a play-in game at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Edwards scored 30 points, D’Angelo Russell added 29 points and the Minnesota Timberwolves will be part of the playoffs for just the second time in the past 18 seasons after producing a 109-104 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in the play-in round on Tuesday night at Minneapolis.

Malik Beasley scored 12 points and former Clippers guard Patrick Beverley grabbed 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who will face the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Game 1 is in Memphis on Saturday.

Karl-Anthony Towns had just 11 points on 3-of-11 shooting in 24 minutes before fouling out for Minnesota, which overcame a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit.

Paul George made six 3-pointers and recorded 34 points for the Clippers, who will have one more chance to make the postseason field when they host either the New Orleans Pelicans or San Antonio Spurs on Friday.

Reggie Jackson scored 17 points, Norman Powell added 16 and Marcus Morris Sr. had 12 for Los Angeles.

Minnesota shot 43.4 percent from the field, including 14 of 35 (40 percent) from 3-point range.

The Clippers made 43.6 percent of their shots and were 16 of 35 (45.7 percent) from behind the arc.

Nicolas Batum hit a 3-pointer with 3:09 left to pull Los Angeles within 99-98, but Edwards answered with a 3-pointer and Russell added a jumper as the Timberwolves took a 104-98 lead with 1:56 to go. George drained a 3-pointer to trim the Clippers’ deficit to three with 1:24 remaining.

Edwards hit two free throws with 38.5 seconds to play and Minnesota closed it out.

George scored 17 points in the third quarter as the Clippers turned a two-point halftime deficit into an 84-78 advantage.

Towns picked up his fifth foul with 3:47 left in the third, and Los Angeles took advantage of his absence, increasing its lead to nine on two free throws by George with 6.4 seconds remaining. However, Beasley swished a corner 3-pointer as time expired as Minnesota cut the Clippers’ lead to six entering the final stanza.

Four straight Los Angeles points prompted Minnesota coach Chris Finch to put Towns back into the game with 9:27 left and the Timberwolves down by seven. Jackson connected on a 3-pointer 33 seconds later as the Clippers took a game-high, 10-point advantage at 93-83.

Towns scored the game’s next three points to start a 16-2 burst, but he didn’t even last two minutes before fouling out with 7:34 left in the contest.

Nearly three minutes later, Russell knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Timberwolves a 97-95 edge. Edwards followed with a ferocious dunk with 4:02 left to cap the surge.

The Timberwolves led 53-51 at halftime despite Towns missing all seven of his field-goal attempts and scoring just two points.

–Field Level Media